We have previously written about how public-private partnerships ("P3s") are on the rise in the United States. While we have noted that the P3 delivery model is utilized for a variety of government assets and services, historically, the transportation sector wears the crown when it comes to P3-delivery success. As P3s continue to proliferate the United States, governments have the ability to consider the model for use in other service sectors.
Social infrastructure can include everything from educational institutions to libraries to open spaces. Experts define it as "the physical places and organizations that shape the way we act." Of course, when these spaces are designed to maximize inclusion and diversity, society is better for it. This is not a new idea; however, social movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too have brought the issues of diversity and inclusion into the mainstream consciousness and have forced governments and decision-makers to take a hard look at what decisions are being made and where money is being invested with respect to these issues.
At the heart of the P3 delivery model is the idea that P3s bring private-sector quality to public infrastructure. By engaging with private partners that can develop social infrastructure with innovative tools to foster social inclusion, governments can promote diversity and inform the masses with a more global perspective. For example, public school systems can follow the lead of Prince George's County in Maryland to use the P3 delivery model to revitalize educational facilities to create open spaces to provide for better student accommodation, which of course, results in better education. Public universities also continue to use the P3 model to revitalize on-campus energy systems to provide green energy and improve daily lives. Finally, regardless of the ultimate goal of a government agency, it can incorporate community gardens, libraries, parks, and other spaces that attract human activity into any P3 project it desires. The P3 delivery model can be a tool to build infrastructure that brings together communities in a time where society demands it.