HKS Authors

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Technological breakthroughs, substantial federal funding, necessity, and public officials more accustomed to data and digital processes combine to present a multi-generational opportunity to transform the delivery of public services. The most powerful transformations and contributions to public value arise when officials utilize digital infrastructure to conceptualize, buy, and build at the system level. These system solutions range from how regions build area, workforces to how they manage urban mobility to how they facilitate competing uses along their curbs and sidewalks. These advancements require complex relationships with the private sector that carry risks as well. Of course, public private partnerships (P3s) are not new; indeed, our university engaged in a public private agreement in 1640, when Harvard College partnered with the Massachusetts Bay Colony over the revenue from operating the public Boston-Charlestown ferry. Rather these digital public, private, nonprofit networks present new issues, putting additional pressure on government to structure and manage the relationships correctly.


Goldsmith, Stephen, and Betsy Gardner. "Procuring Digital Infrastructure: How System Approaches Can Produce Public Value." Data-Smart City Solutions, May 2023.