What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

The Knight Cities Challenge seeks new ideas from innovators who will take hold of the future of their cities.We invite applicants from anywhere to tell us their ideas for making the 26 Knight communities more vibrant places to live and work. From a pool of $5 million, we’re looking to award grants at the city, neighborhood and block levels, and all sizes in between. We announced the winners of the 2016 Knight Cities Challenge on April 12, 2016. Click here to learn more. The challenge will open again in fall 2016.

We want the most innovative and effective ideas and a plan to realize them. Ideas should focus on one or all of three key drivers of city success.

TALENT: Ideas that help cities attract and keep talented people.

OPPORTUNITY: Ideas that expand economic prospects by breaking down divides and connecting people.

ENGAGEMENT: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.

We want to be surprised by the ideas we receive, and try not to prescribe in too much detail what might fit the challenge. But here are some examples from the 2015 Knight Cities Challenge winners that highlight our three focus areas.:

Talent

Attract and keep talented people. Cities are stronger for everyone when they can attract and keep talented people. People, both younger and older, are returning to cities in record numbers, looking for the best of city life.

PAST WINNERS FOR TALENT:

Minimum Grid: Maximum Impact

Minimum Grid:
Maximum Impact

Recipient: MidTown Inc.

City: Columbus, Georgia

Award: $199,195

Aim: Establishing a comprehensive network of bicycle and pedestrian connections among the entertainment and business district of Uptown and the 24 diverse neighborhoods of MidTown.

Unbox Akron

Unbox Akron

Recipient: Chris Horne

City: Akron, Ohio

Award: $52,168

Aim: Fostering a stronger connection to the city by creating a subscription service that celebrates Akron with a monthly selection of local goods and experiences delivered in a box.

Opportunity

Expand economic prospects by breaking down divides and making new connections. To succeed, cities need to create places where people of diverse backgrounds and income levels can connect. They need to help workers connect with and flourish in today’s mobile and digital economy.

PAST WINNERS FOR OPPORTUNITY:

Unbox Akron

RE: Brand Detroit: Innovating Detroit Neighborhoods

Recipient: Brand Camp University

City: Detroit, Michigan

Award: $164,810

Aim: Changing the narrative of underserved neighborhoods by developing compelling branding and digital presences for neighborhood businesses that better tell their stories.

Minimum Grid: Maximum Impact

Pop-Up Pool Project

Recipient: Group Melvin Design

City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Award: $297,000

Aim: Introducing fun, easy solutions at city pools, which will be designed to make them more vibrant places to meet and interact with neighbors and friends.

Engagement

Spur connection and civic involvement. Cities need spaces and programming that enable people to come together and help shape their city’s future. Engaged citizens are helping set the agenda for change in their city and connecting with their community to take concrete, collective action.

PAST WINNERS FOR ENGAGEMENT:

Minimum Grid: Maximum Impact

The Voting Signage Project

Recipient: Here’s My Chance

City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Award: $166,394

Aim: Making voting in local elections more enticing by creating new types of signs at polling places and commissioning artists to perform site-specific pieces on election days.

Neighborhood

Neighborhood Conservation Kit

Recipient: Central Roxborough Civic Association

City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Award: $20,000

Aim: Putting the future of communities in residents’ hands with a toolkit they can use to create a special zoning designation called a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay.

Who should apply?

The Knight Cities Challenge welcomes anyone with big ideas and the ability to realize them. Activists, designers, artists, planning professionals, hackers, architects, city officials, educators, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, block captains, social workers—everyone is welcome. The only rule is your project needs to benefit one of the Knight communities.

HOW IT WORKS

No idea is too big.

Applications open October 1 - 27

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Knight Foundation

OUR MISSION: INFORMED AND ENGAGED COMMUNITIES

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.