How can the private and public sectors work together to create smart cities?

Published Friday, January 11, 2019

Smart-city experts share examples of successful public–private partnerships from around the world.

How does a city transform itself into a smart city? One strategy involves bringing the private sector into the fold, to provide funding, technical know-how, and innovation that complements public-sector efforts. But bringing these two different elements together can also prove challenging in practice.

At a recent smart-cities event in New York, convened by the McKinsey Global Institute, Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Partnership for New York City, asked smart-city experts for examples of successful public–private partnerships. Rit Aggarwala, head of urban systems at Sidewalk Labs and adjunct professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University; Ester Fuchs, professor of international and public affairs and political science and director of the urban and social policy program at Columbia University; and McKinsey partner Jonathan Law shared the following thoughts.