Research shows that three things make cities successful: talented people, economic opportunities, and engagement.
What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?
Six months ago, the Knight Cities Challenge Program was launched, challenging applicants to answer that question with civic innovation proposals. Awards were announced just days ago, with 32 projects sharing in the $5 million in total funding. Successful applicants included governments, nonprofits, and individuals looking to improve one of the 26 target communities in the grant notice. Those interested in civic innovation and collaboration should take a glance at the winning projects to help re-shape our public spaces; they might just jog your own creativity!
- Take Ten Initiative: Challenging municipal workers in Charlotte, NC, to take 10 minutes each week to connect with a city resident and report on their thoughts and ideas. Award: $74,000.
- No Barriers Project: Bringing two diverse Charlotte neighborhoods together in a public park that sits on their border by creating a new common space that uses light, sound, and play to stimulate conversation. Award: $67,100.
- Minimum Grid: Maximum Impact: Establishing a comprehensive network of bicycle and pedestrian connections among the entertainment and business district of Uptown and the 24 diverse neighborhoods of MidTown in Columbus, GA. Award: $199,195.
- Brick + Beam Detroit: Creating a new community of Detroit rehabbers who will work together to combat blight, reactivate vacant buildings, and improve their city. The Michigan Historic Preservation Network's project received an award for $87,424.
- 8-80 Vitality Fellow: Promoting a more livable St. Paul, MN, by embedding a fellow in the mayor’s office who will work across departments to manage the $42 million committed to the mayor’s 8-80 Vitality Fund, which aims to ensure that walking, biking, and public spaces are a priority in all city projects. The St. Paul's Mayor’s Office won the award for $175,000.
Read more about the winners here at the Knight Foundation's site. The next solicitation will be in fall 2015.