The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Knight Cities Challenge, an annual competition designed to generate ideas aimed at making cities more vibrant places to live and work.
The thirty-three winners will share a total of $5 million to implement their projects and proposed ideas, which range from providing a space for Philadelphians to develop solutions to city service issues through a traveling design lab, to further revitalizing the Detroit waterfront by creating an inviting urban beach along Atwater Street, to replacing an inoperative freeway in Akron with a lushly forested public space connecting two physically and socially isolated neighborhoods, to reimagining the State House in Columbia, South Carolina, as a front porch for all South Carolinians. Winning projects were chosen from nineteen of the twenty-six communities where the foundation invests, including Aberdeen, South Dakota; Akron, Ohio; Biloxi, Mississippi; Bradenton, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit; Duluth, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Lexington, Kentucky; Macon, Georgia; Miami; Milledgeville, Georgia; Palm Beach County, Florida; Philadelphia; St. Paul, Minnesota; San Jose, California; and Wichita, Kansas.
Now in its third year, the challenge, which is open to any individual, business, government agency, or nonprofit, has only two criteria: a submission may originate from anywhere but the project itself must take place in or benefit one or more Knight communities; and the idea should focus on one or more of the three drivers of city success: talent, opportunity, and engagement.
"The Knight Cities Challenge works to uncover the ideas, people, and collaborations that help to advance deeper civic engagement and contribute to city success," said Sam Gill, Knight Foundation vice president for communities and impact. "The winners join a network of civic innovators who are showing us the ways in which our cities can shape their futures to help solve pressing challenges and create new opportunities."
For a complete list of the winning ideas, see the Knight Foundation website.