Transit-oriented development, infill development, and other types of smart growth projects often fall under the purview of multiple public agencies and usually involve collaboration with various property owners, local community organizations, and other private and nonprofit entities. Forming effective partnerships is therefore a critical part of developing a successful funding and financing strategy for smart growth infrastructure. These partnerships can include interagency partnerships, public/private partnerships, and anchor institutions, defined below.

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Local governments—including cities, counties, and special districts such as sewer or water districts—have traditionally been charged with building, operating, and maintaining basic infrastructure and facilities in California. In a smart growth context, however, local governments often partner with local or regional transportation agencies to improve bicycle/pedestrian access, provide parking, or make other station area improvements. Transit agencies may also get involved more directly in transit-oriented development when the agency owns land near the station that they wish to develop, as in the West Dublin BART case study.



Public/private partnerships (PPPs) are agreements between public agencies and private sector entities whereby each party agrees to contribute assets, skills, or other resources in return for sharing in the costs and benefits of the project. Local governments are working more often with private partners—for-profit companies as well as nonprofit/community-based organizations—to help deliver and manage local infrastructure and services. Examples of different types of PPPs include a joint development and parking management district.



Anchor institutions are entities such as universities, hospitals, and companies that are inextricably tied to their locations because of real estate holdings or capital investment, history, or mission. Because of these deep ties to their communities, these organizations may have an interest in investing in local economic or community development. From the perspective of a city or community, an anchor institution may bring new funding sources to the table as well as leadership capacity, research expertise, and other forms of human capital. The case study of the Greater University Circle Initiative and University Circle, Inc, in Cleveland, Ohio provides examples of how anchor institutions can work with cities to fill the gaps in traditional sources of funding and financing for smart growth infrastructure.​


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