What’s your idea to make Miami better?
Now in its third year, the Knight Cities Challenge opens for entries on Monday. It’s a national challenge by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that seeks new ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work. Winning ideas will receive grants.
Ideas should focus on one or all of these three areas: attracting and keeping talent, expanding economic opportunity and creating a culture of civic engagement. Winners will receive a share of $5 million to help build their concept; funding will be granted at all levels from small to large amounts. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 3 at knightcities.org.
Last year, there were four local winners. In Miami, The Underline project, a proposed 10-mile linear park under the Miami-Dade Metrorail from Brickell to Dadeland, received $250,000. Receiving $145,000 in Knight Cities funding was the “Biscayne Green” project for a a pop-up park and urban forest along Biscayne Boulevard. Code for Miami, a volunteer organization that works on civic technology programs, received $100,000 to develop a Miami civic user testing group. In Palm Beach County, another Knight community, a project called The Sunset Rises Again by the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency received $171,650 to create a cultural hub on the site of a former jazz club.
In 2015, the Miami Science Barge received about $300,000 in Knight Cities funding. The barge, which opened in April at Miami’s Museum Park and was spearheaded by the CappSci Foundation, is a teaching laboratory and exhibition space for the marine sciences, sustainable living and the impact of climate change.
For this year’s Knight Cities Challenge, Knight Foundation’s Miami Program Director Matt Haggman will host an information session from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17 at Batch Gastropub, 30 SW 12th St., Miami. There is a Palm Beach County session from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 14 at Sunset Lounge, 609 Eighth St., West Palm Beach.
Community members and entrepreneurs, as well as experts in urban planning, design, academia and government will help Knight review entries. Those entries making it past the first cut will be asked to submit more details on their project. Knight will announce finalists and winners in early 2017.
Launched in 2014, the Knight Cities Challenge has named 69 winners nationwide so far, including The Institute of Hip-Hop Entrepreneurship, which uses hip-hop to provide hands-on business training to members of low income groups; Re:Brand Detroit, which aims to spark reinvestment in Detroit’s neighborhoods through entrepreneurship; and Minimum Grid Maximum Impact, which improves neighborhood life by creating a network of bike and pedestrian connections between Midtown and Uptown Columbus, Georgia.
Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg