A floating, urban sustainable farm and education center, a program matching inventors with local manufacturers and a “Department of Life” to promote a more inclusive, connected city were just a few of the 10 Miami finalists the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s inaugural Knight Cities Challenge.
The foundation’s national call for ideas to make communities more vibrant places to live in work attracted more than 7,000 submissions. The foundation announced on Monday its 126 finalists, who will all go on to compete for a share of a $5 million grant pool. Submitted ideas needed to benefit one or more of the 26 communities where Knight invests and focus on talent attraction and retention, economic opportunity or community engagement.
Finalists, which came from all 26 Knight communities, including 25 finalists from Detroit, including a plan to pair barbers with landscape contractors to transform overgrown vacant lots and a how-to guide to transform the ubiquitous and unsightly chain-link fence into galleries, gardens and grids promoting community connections. The 20 finalists from Philadelphia included an Immigrant Immigration Hub and a 2,600 cycling journey to chronicle the stories of the city. There were also multicity ideas, including one involving competitive street arcades creating a league of video gaming cities and another for a national maker contest culminating in Miami. "Through these new connections we hope to grow a network of civic innovators to take on community challenges and build solutions together," said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives.
Winners will be announced in the spring. The challenge is part of a three-year, $15 million commitment that Knight Foundation announced in the fall of 2014.
Finalists from Miami and Palm Beach County were:
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
Palm Beach County
The Community School, 2.0 by PLACE Planning & Design Inc. (Submitted by Robert Field): Initiating a public planning process to re-imagine a K-12 school and its facilities to more accurately reflect the needs of the community.
See the full list of finalists at knightcities.org.
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