Re-posted snippet from the Knight Foundation article:
We didn’t know what to expect when we launched our third Knight Cities Challenge last fall. The response in the first two years was phenomenal; from a total pool of more than 12,000 applications we have named fewer than 70 winning projects. We wondered if civic innovators would bring that same enthusiasm to this round. There is no question that they did that—and more.
This time we received more than 4,500 applications responding to the question, What’s your best idea to make cities more successful? The number even surpassed the applications we received in 2015. Now, 144 finalists will move forward to the next phase of our national call for ideas to make the 26 Knight communities more successful.
The ideas all focus on one or more of the three drivers of city success: talent, opportunity and engagement. There is at least one finalist in each of the 26 Knight communities, along with several projects that would be put to work in multiple cities.
Detroit and Philadelphia once again top the list of finalists, with 21 and 20 proposals respectively, on par with last year, but there are great ideas in the mix from all of the Knight communities, representing the breadth of our country, from San Jose, California, represented with eight projects, to Charlotte, North Carolina, with 12, and every Knight community between.
We’re looking forward to diving into the details. The finalists have until the end of January to submit full applications, which will include budgets, letters of recommendation, renderings and other material, for the next stage of our review process, which includes reviewers from Knight communities as well as national experts. We’ll submit the list of final recommended projects to Knight’s board of trustees later this year, and we’ll announce the winners in the spring.
Congratulations to the finalists, and thank you to everyone who submitted an idea. We look forward to your being a part of Knight’s national network of civic innovators, and we look forward to connecting with you in your city. We can learn from your ideas and your commitment, and we will share what we learn from these experiments with you.
Thanks also to our team of reviewers, to those who helped select the finalists and to those joining us in exploring the 144 full applications. We can’t wait to review the final submissions, and to announce the winning ideas in spring 2017.
Charlotte, North Carolina:
The Imagine Forest by City of Charlotte (submitted by Eugene Bradley): Creating a space where people can connect by transforming a cove along the Sugar Creek Greenway in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlotte into a natural playground, with paths, trees and other ways to connect with the environment.
Activest by Activest (submitted by Ryan Bowers): Fostering more responsive ways of governing by actively engaging city leaders and city bondholders in dialogue about social practices and policies.
Charlotte Neighborhood Waypoints (submitted by Idara Umoren): Connecting residents to each other and their city by installing wayfinding signage in high pedestrian traffic areas that encourage conversation, community connection and exploration.
Civics Charlotte (submitted by Joshua C. Richardson): Increasing civic engagement through a program that educates people on the law, politics and economics that shape their local area.
Dine With Me CLT by Familiar Workshop (submitted by Katie Lloyd): Fostering community engagement and strengthening neighborhood pride by creating spaces that encourage dialogue between residents through shared meals and storytelling.
Early Voter Poll Party by City of Charlotte (submitted by John Short): Increasing voter turnout and civic engagement by providing entertainment, food trucks and more at early voting polling places.
Neighborhood SparKit by City of Charlotte (submitted by Monica Carney Holmes): Inspiring neighborhoods to rethink community meetings and events by providing a ready-made low-cost kit that includes tools and instructions for reenergizing these gatherings. For example, residents can transform the setting of their neighborhood meeting into a Parisian bistro, or host a pop-up playground or outdoor movie night.
Queen City Live! by Charlotte Center City Partners (submitted by Erin Gillespie): Bringing people together and improving neighborhood life with mobile stages that feature built-in instruments and open opportunities for live performances and spontaneous jam sessions.
Rail Trail Connection by Charlotte Center City Partners (submitted by Erin Gillespie): Encouraging economic development and city vibrancy by creating a lively place to connect with nature and neighbors along Charlotte’s light rail line. The space will also help link a retail employment center to the nearest transit stop.
Your Move, Charlotte (submitted by Varian Shrum and Garrett Tichy): Strengthening connections between citizens and local government through a weekly podcast and follow-up roundtable, in which government representatives and millennials engage on local issues.
The ZIP Code Project by Queen City Forward (submitted by Amy Chiou): Increasing community attachment, especially for newcomers, by engaging the city’s creatives to use art and placemaking to share what people love about their ZIP codes. For example, creating a T-shirt with a photograph of an iconic local restaurant and the ZIP code on the sleeve.
Work in the Park! (submitted by Siana Campbell): Promoting innovation and collaboration in Charlotte by transforming city parks into spaces that encourage residents to take work to the park.
View the full article from the Knight Foundation posted on January 17, 2017 by George Abbott here.