High upfront investments are not always required to finance digital infrastructures. Innovative financial and business models are increasingly emerging to fund local technological infrastructures.²
Creating innovative financial and business models to invest in the needed infrastructures
High upfront investments are not always required to finance digital infrastructures. Innovative financial and business models are increasingly emerging to fund local technological infrastructures. The variety of existing financial schemes notably include joint ventures to Public Private Partnerships, Crowdfunding, Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) and green or energy revolving funds. Public authorities can take leadership to create incentives to encourage private investments in infrastructures for technology-based innovation in cities.
The US “Cities Innovation Technology Investment Initiative (CITII)”
In the US, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has recently recommended to create an interagency initiative, the Cities Innovation Technology Investment Initiative (CITII). It mainly aims at coordinating and learning from the work of the many agencies that focus on the development of cities all over the country. Ultimately, CITII will “encourage, coordinate, and support efforts to pioneer new models for technology-enhanced cities” based on a set of measurable goals.
Leveraging on the expertise of local energy saving companies
An increasing number of European technology-based firms are developing energy services in a non-profit or commercial purpose. These companies can offer a wide range of services such as energy audit schemes, energy saving project design and green energy supply. Local authorities should create collaborative partnerships with these local companies to discover new opportunities to tackle their local environmental challenges in a costeffective and efficient way.
Small-scale infrastructure thinking
As the World Economic Forum highlights in its report on the Top Ten Urban Innovations, cities will undergo their digital transformation thanks to largeinfrastructure projects. Yet, small-scale infrastructure projects can also help to set the path. Small investments to encourage businesses to modernize their digital systems or to support the development of digital trainings for job seekers for example are likely to have a large payout.
Unlocking investments for smart mobilitys
The benefits of local investments in digital infrastructures are evident when it comes to environmental sustainability issues. Digital technologies have the capacity to transform traditional public transportation system and to create more efficient and intelligent networks which can ultimately enhance the movement of vehicles, people, and goods. For instance, through the ELENA facility, the European Commission and the EIB have promoted an innovative bus fleet renewal programme in Barcelona. The three-year project includes the transformation of about 200 existing buses into hybrid buses for an estimated energy savings amount of 60 GWh.
Amsterdam’s Sharing tower
The Sharing Tower accommodates businesses, but not only. It aims at creating an environment where people share their ideas and visions. In the Sharing Tower, design enables the sharing economy to become reality. Space is organized in such a way that every tenant and visitor have increased possibilities for sharing and cooperating.