Contest seeks proposals to improve city living
A $5 million contest will ask urban dwellers to propose innovative ideas to improve cities -- including Duluth. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation this week announced the Knight Cities Challenge, which asks a seemingly straightforward que...
A $5 million contest will ask urban dwellers to propose innovative ideas to improve cities - including Duluth.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation this week announced the Knight Cities Challenge, which asks a seemingly straightforward question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?
The contest, which opens Oct. 1, seeks project proposals that would make at least one or more of the 26 cities where the Knight Foundation invests - including Duluth - “more vibrant places to live and work.” The contest is open to anyone, from students and activists to architects, mayors and city planners.
Applications will be accepted until Nov. 14.
The contest is fairly open-ended, but rules state the idea should focus on one or all of three “key drivers of city success” - attracting and retaining top talent, expanding economic opportunity and creating a culture of civic connection and involvement.
“We are looking for ideas from innovators who will take hold of the future of our cities,” Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives, said in a news release. “To succeed cities need talented people who can contribute to their growth, new opportunities that are open to all, and ways to engage people to spur connections and civic action.”
The initial application will be available online starting Oct. 1 at knightcities.org. It will include just two questions and “is designed to be simple to encourage a diversity of applications,” the foundation said.
In addition to Duluth, the cities included in the challenge are St. Paul; Grand Forks, N.D.; Aberdeen, S.D.; Detroit; Gary, Ind.; Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Macon, Ga.; Miami; Philadelphia; San Jose, Calif.; Biloxi, Miss.; Boulder, Colo.; Bradenton, Fla.; Columbia, S.C.; Columbus, Ga.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; Long Beach, Calif.; Milledgeville, Ga.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; State College, Pa.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Wichita, Kan.
The Knight Foundation will host community question-and-answer sessions in each of the 26 Knight cities beginning in October, with dates and times to be announced.
The foundation began in Akron, Ohio, in 1940 as a college scholarship memorial fund established by the Knight brothers in memory of their father, who had been an editor and publisher.
It expanded in scope in 1950 as a foundation of the Knight newspaper chain, and grew as members of the Knight family willed it large portions of their estates. Former Chairman Jim Knight died in 1991, leaving the foundation a $200 million bequest.
* Through Sept. 30, the $2.5 million Knight News Challenge is accepting proposals from across the country that would help make libraries the center of more knowledgeable communities. Winners will be announced at the end of January. For more information, go to newschallenge.org.