When the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation put out a call last year for new ideas to make the 26 communities where the foundation invests better places to live and work, more than 7,000 people answered.
On Monday, the foundation announced its list of 126 finalists in the first Knight Cities Challenge, 10 of which come from the Miami area. Other cities represented include Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Detroit, Michigan.
Participants came up with a range of ideas including dinner parties that bring residents together to shape the future of their cities and competitive video gaming street arcades that reinvigorate public spaces.
The Miami finalists are:
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▪ Connective Tissue Plan and the Miami Department of Public Life by Gehl Studio (submitted by Matthew Lister): Creating the nation’s first Department of Public Life to promote a more inclusive, connected, walkable Miami.
▪ Future Museum Park: An Iterative Placemaking Experiment submitted by Rebecca Mandelman): Involving the public in the creation and design of Museum Park through interactive experiments to help developers understand the wants and needs of the community.
▪ Guagua App (submitted by Armando Ibarra): Creating a single platform for private jitneys and minibuses to provide inexpensive, on-demand, door-to-door transportation that fills substantial gaps in the local transit system.
▪ Made in Dade (submitted by Eric Burnard): Matching entrepreneurs and inventors with local manufacturers who can produce their goods to create a positive environment for talented creators while stimulating the job market.
▪ Multimodal, Linear Park by loCl (submitted by Malik Benjamin): Building a linear park along the Florida East Coast Railway from downtown to the Little River residential and business district.
▪ PlaceMaking Agency/Lab (submitted by Eric Burnard): Establishing a new creative agency focused on building a cultural identity in neighborhoods and helping developers and entrepreneurs build ideas based on those cultural foundations, to create stronger neighborhood ties.
▪ SmartPARCS @ North by Miami Dade College (submitted by Lenore Rodicio): Improving Internet access in underserved communities by creating a community park system around Miami Dade College that will provide free WiFi hotspots and encourage community engagement.
▪ The Talent Development Network by The Talent Development Network (submitted by Steven Rojas Tallon): Helping talented Miamians stay in the city by connecting students with employers in seven target industries through a collaboration between all major academic institutions in the city.
▪ Wild Planting for a Fruitful Future by PlantMatter (submitted by Tiffany Noe): Strengthening Miami by providing residents with free fruit trees to plant in public spaces for all to share - turning the streets into a veritable edible park.
▪ The Science Barge by CappSci (submitted by Nathalie Manzano-Smith): To promote sustainability by creating the Science Barge, a floating, urban sustainable farm and environmental education center powered by renewable energy
Participants were asked to focus on at least one of three drivers of success: talent, opportunity and engagement.
Winners, who will receive a share of $5 million, will be announced in spring 2015.
“The challenge has introduced us to a host of new ideas and people who want to take hold of the future of their cities,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives in a release. “Through these new connections we hope to grow a network of civic innovators to take on community challenges and build solutions together.”
For more information, visit KnightCities.org.