January 2012


In this issue

There is a near-perfect correlation between urbanizationand prosperity across nations, as pioneering urban economistEdward Glaeser points out in his myth-busting Triumph ofthe City. He reminds us that “the real city is made of flesh,not concrete,” and that cities succeed or fail due to humancapital, rather than physical capital. However, the right physicalcapital—thoughtfully tailored infrastructure—increases theefficiency of cities, allowing for more and better innovation.Public-private partnerships (PPPs), at their best, facilitate thisgrowth on a scale and timeline that would be impossiblewithout private capital.

This issue of Handshake takes readers on a tour of urbanPPPs that put citizens first. Expert authors introduce readersto solutions that have revolutionized citydwellers’ experience,like PPPs for housing, transportation, and water delivery. Wefocus especially on the need for a new vision of the city, featuringprovocative discussions with Glaeser and with Clare Short,former U.K. Secretary of State for International Development.Glaeser reacquaints readers with the virtuous cycle createdby dense urban spaces, where employers are attracted by thelarge pool of potential employees and workers are drawn bythe abundance of potential employers. Short builds on thesocial benefits of this urban concentration. By pointing outthat “real democracy” is based on the practice of engagingpeople in local development, she returns us to the certaintythat cities are at the heart of civilization.