Three smart city associations, two of which are based in Arizona, joined forces to take a “region of regions” approach to collaborate and evaluate new financial models.
The North Texas Innovation Alliance (NTXIA), a consortium of almost 30 municipalities, agencies, corporations and academic institutions in North Texas; The Connective, a Phoenix-based research and implementation partnership between public sector, academia, industry and civic institutions; and the Southern Arizona Smart Region, led by the Regional Partnering Center (RPC), a group of nearly 30 public and private partners and academic institutions in southern Arizona, will collaborate and demonstrate the strengths of multi-regional cooperation.
The organizations were initially formed to develop public and private sector support and funding to increase economic competitiveness and quality of life for residents, through concepts like smart city solutions.
By working together, each region provides a way for local leaders to stay on top of trends and address the challenges that arise, like local governments having to adapt to expectations, budget shortfalls, old infrastructure and emerging technology.
“By coming together in partnership, we can evaluate the best ways to address shared challenges, as well as the barriers that inhibit the deployment of solutions,” NTXIA executive director Jen Sanders said in a statement. “The goal of this partnership is to accelerate learnings, build connections, and ultimately identify approaches that will improve cities and towns throughout our respective regions.”
A challenge for each association is adequately funding smart city solutions, while having limited resources. Dr. Satish Hiremath, the chairman of the RPC, said finding innovative solutions that lead to the economic benefit of the communities relies on public and private partnerships.
“However, delivering innovative solutions requires new funding sources,” Hiremath said in a statement. “This broader collaborative effort brings thought leaders together to pursue new and creative avenues of funding necessary to drive results that advance the quality of living in our communities.”
Each consortium has the desire to design new revenue models, monetization strategies and sustainable financial models. Dominic Papa, an executive team member of The Connective and Vice President of Smart State Initiatives at the Arizona Commerce Authority, adds that the partnership can ensure sustainable growth and stability in each region for years to come.
“A coordinated multi-region approach is the right model to coordinate testing, deployment and financial sustainability that can be leveraged and scaled both nationally and globally,” Papa said in a statement.
The NTXIA, Connective and RPC intend to explore and evaluate submissions from a Call for Revenue Generating Solutions for Municipalities and Regions, a partnership initiative between NTXIA and Marketplace.city. The groups hope the submissions provide insight on diverse opportunities that provide new revenue and financial models that can accelerate priority projects.
The associations ultimately want to establish dual-region projects and joint research opportunities. For now, the groups are focusing on member communications and education and participation in virtual events and workshops.