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Urban infrastructure: smart cities. Report KPMG Romania - Doing Business | DOINGBUSINESS.RO

  |  08.11.2012

Urban infrastructure: smart cities. Report KPMG Romania

Cities are striving to provide a raft of critical urban infrastructure assets to support their burgeoning – in some cases unrelenting – growth

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Thus, there are more and more effective transportation systems, reliable and low-carbon energy, safe and secure water networks, and efficient and scalable social infrastructure will all play central roles in the smooth transition to urbanization.


So it is hardly surprising that political and business leaders are now keenly focused on cities and their impact on everything from economic growth and social well-being to climate change and sustainability. It is in this context that KPMG’ Global Infrastructure Practice launched “The Infrastructure 100: World Cities Edition”, a showcase of 100 innovative and inspiring examples of urban infrastructure projects that are changing cities around the world. Features in the KPMG publication were selected by industry experts from five regions of the world, including: North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa, by independent judging panels which assessed hundreds of project submissions based on their feasibility, social impact, technical and/or financial complexity, innovation and impact on society. The result is what we hope you will find to be 100 of the most inspirational projects globally.


The landscape for education infrastructure is shifting, and much of this change is related to the global financial crisis. Governments and school boards are rethinking their facilities needs, bank financing for education continues to be short-term, higher education institutions are looking for new markets and technology is altering the very fundamentals that, until recently, underpinned the delivery of education in mature markets. The Princess Nora Bint AbdulRahman University for Women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is an outstanding example of an integrated infrastructure project that is expected to have a huge social impact. The university not only furthers the cause of advancing education among Arab women but it also sets new standards for built infrastructure in the education sector globally.

The project is spread across eight million square meters and has been built with a total investment of £11 billion. The university will have the capacity to offer places to 60 percent of Riyadh’s female high-school graduates. It will offer degrees in medicine, pharmacy, management and IT – subjects which have typically been male-dominated and difficult for Saudi women to access. Looking forward, it seems clear that – while some dramatic changes may be underway – the education sector will continue to provide opportunities: refocused schools and higher education projects in the mature markets; a steady growth in new school development in emerging markets; and even a number of significant new mega-projects in the form of new university campuses and education cities around the world.


In the developed world, we are witnessing a dramatic increase in demand for health services which is largely being driven by rising patient expectations, shifting demographics and aging populations. In the developing world, the combined forces of urbanization and a marked increase in universal health coverage are putting renewed strain on already-stretched health systems. As a result, the health infrastructure sector is also encountering a significant change in both the type of projects and services being procured by health systems and, with it, their funding and financing structures.

The Royal London Hospital has clearly struggled to cope with the demands and expectations of modern 21st-century healthcare. As a result, Barts Health NHS Trust initiated a £1 billion Public Private Partnership (PPP) that included upgrading two historic hospitals over a nine-year construction period. The £650 million redevelopment of the Royal London specifically, is an intriguing case study on preserving a long and illustrious past, yet delivering the kind of world-class facility one would expect from a leading global city.

The hospital now occupies an area equivalent to 40 soccer pitches and its level of diagnostic care has been doubled. It is home to London’s air ambulance and a leading trauma and emergency care center. It also houses a range of specialist centers including one of Europe’s largest renal services and a dedicated Women’s Center and Children’s Hospital.

There are clearly signs that Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in healthcare are moving from what has largely been a very well understood and defined procurement model with clear risk transfer approaches to instead embark on an era of locally-managed estates procurement that often embraces a new array of models such as joint ventures and leasing arrangements.

The eventual success of many of these programs is going to be entirely dependent on the ability of governments and system administrators to find sustainable sources of long-term finance. It is clear that the global financial crisis and in particular the current European Sovereign crisis is putting a huge strain on the project finance bank market which is under regulatory pressure and may prevent long term lending (for example above 10 years). In turn, this will start to influence the way policy makers approach healthcare funding, with some now exploring the potential of offering some form of value/debt underwrite or other medium-term assurance that can unlock the bank’s ability to offer shorter-term funding that can be more easily refinanced at a later time.


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