The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced that 37 innovative projects will share $5 million as winners of the Knight Cities Challenge. Each of the ideas centers on helping cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunities and create a culture of civic engagement.
The challenge attracted more than 4,500 ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work. It asked innovators of all kinds to answer the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?
The 37 winners proposed a host of ideas, from exploring Detroit’s untold history through monthly bike tours that blend storytelling with neighborhood discovery to using hip-hop to provide hands-on business training to members of low-income groups in Philadelphia, from developing a toolkit to create temporary pop-up social spaces at voting polls in Long Beach to creating a new cultural hub in West Palm Beach’s Northwest Historic District.
“At its core, the Knight Cities Challenge is about discovering and connecting civic innovators, creative interventionists who inspire positive change,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president. “The winners reflect this goal. Their ideas have the potential to create stronger communities and spaces that spur learning, engagement and growth.”
Open to any individual, business, government or nonprofit, the Knight Cities Challenge has just two rules: (1) A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place in or benefit one or more of the 26 communities where Knight invests and (2) the idea should focus on one or more of three drivers of city success: Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep talented people; Opportunity: Ideas that create economic prospects by breaking down divides and making new connections; Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.
Winning projects are based in 19 of the 26 communities where Knight invests including: Akron, Ohio; Boulder, Colo.; Columbus, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Gary, Ind.; Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Grand Forks, N.D.; Lexington, Ky.; Macon, Ga.; Miami; Long Beach, Calif.; Milledgeville, Ga.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; Philadelphia; St. Paul, Minn.; San Jose, Calif; State College, Pa; and Tallahassee, Fla.
The list of Detroit winners are below:
Pedal to Porch by Cornetta Lane | $30,000
Exploring Detroit’s untold history through monthly bike tours leading participants through different areas of the city and giving residents a chance to tell the story of their neighborhoods.
Dequindre Cut Market by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy | $135,665 | submitted by Mark Wallace
Creating spaces for entrepreneurs to set up shop along the Dequindre Cut with shipping container pop-up shops that will add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood and attract new interest.
Detroit’s Exciting Adventure into the Pink Zone by the city of Detroit | $75,000 | submitted by Maurice D. Cox
Creating new opportunities for jobs and businesses by developing a new tool to streamline city development regulations and engaging design talent and developers to help reshape commercial districts.
Give a Park, Get a Park by the city of Detroit | $75,000 | submitted by Maurice D. Cox
Creating sustainable microparks in Detroit neighborhoods that are designed in response to community needs, require few resources and are easy to maintain.
Sensors in a Shoebox by the University of Michigan | $138,339 | submitted by Elizabeth Birr Moje
Training youth to use sensors and data analytics that track environmental conditions such as traffic, noise or temperature in city neighborhoods; the project will help students answer questions about their community and build ideas to make it better.