The thirty-two winners, who will share a total of $5 million to implement their projects, proposed ideas ranging from enlisting a community of rehabbers in Detroit to combat blight and reactivate vacant buildings ($87,424), to creating a subscription service that celebrates Akron with a monthly boxed selection of local goods and experiences ($52,168), to mobilizing city leaders in St. Paul to hold monthly ceremonies for newcomers where they are presented with a warm winter hat ($67,288). All of the winning projects focus on one or more of the three drivers of city success: talent (ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest); opportunity (ideas that create economic prospects and break down divides); and engagement (ideas that spur connection and civic involvement). Winning projects were chosen from twelve of the twenty-six communities where Knight invests, including Akron, Ohio; Bradenton, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbus, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Lexington, Kentucky; Macon, Georgia; Miami, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; St. Paul, Minnesota; and San Jose, California.
Open to any individual, business, government, or nonprofit, the Knight Cities Challenge has just two rules: 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.
"Not only did the Knight Cities Challenge uncover a wealth of new ideas to make our cities more successful, it will help strengthen a network of civic innovators who are taking hold of the future of their cities," said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. "These important connections will help create a pipeline for new approaches to city transformation and spark the type of collaboration vital to growing and spreading good ideas."
For a complete list of winning ideas, visit the Knight Foundation website.