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Knight Cities Challenge names 158 finalists, 11 in Miami


Finalists chosen from a pool of more than 4,500 applicants


MIAMI – Jan. 12, 2016 – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced 158 finalists, including 11 in Miami, in the second annual Knight Cities Challenge a national call for ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.


Open to innovators of all types, the Knight Cities Challenge asked applicants to answer the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful? 

More than 4,500 applicants from across the country answered the call proposing a range of ideas, including: opening up Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum, the world’s largest African American history museum, with a public plaza that provides a space for residents to connect on cultural and community issues; an app for Miami residents that allows citizens to discuss and vote on actions taken by local government; rain parks that engage residents to solve stormwater problems in flood-damaged Columbia, S.C.; a card game that encourages Charlotte residents to learn about their city and visit new neighborhoods.


Submissions came from many nonprofit and government organizations, as well as design experts, urban planning organizations and individuals focused on making their cities more successful. Each of the ideas focuses on one or more of three drivers of city success:


●     Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest;

●     Opportunity: Ideas that expand economic prospects and break down divides;

●     Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.


A full list of the finalists is below.


Winners, who will receive a share of $5 million, will be announced in spring 2016.


“The finalists reflect what the Knight Cities Challenge is about: uncovering new civic innovators and motivating people to realize ideas—big and small—that can contribute to the success of their cities,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. 


Applicants have to follow only two rules: 1) A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities; and 2) The idea should focus on one or all of three key drivers of city success, talent, opportunity and engagement, as outlined above.


Now in its second year, the challenge is part of a three-year, $15 million commitment that Knight Foundation announced in the fall of 2014. In March 2015 Knight announced32 winners of the first Knight Cities Challenge.


For more information, visit


Knight Cities Challenge Finalists 2016




Thrive Kitchen by Opa-locka Community Development Corp. (submitted by Aileen Alon): Creating a shared commercial kitchen and business incubator to stimulate Miami’s food entrepreneurs and cultivate talent in South Florida’s underserved communities.


First Taste: Little River by First Taste (submitted by Amy Rosenberg):

Enabling food entrepreneurs at a regular food flea market in Little River to showcase their products to the public and grow their businesses; the market will also serve as a gathering space for residents who want produce, international delicacies, and more.


Orange Blossom Parkway Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail for Proposed Hialeah Market  District by city of Hialeah (submitted by Annette Quintana): Creating an urban linear park connecting Hialeah Market Station and Hialeah Drive to provide residents with a space to walk, bike, play and connect.


Community Asset Platform by Center for Applied Transect Studies (submitted by Hank Dittmar): Creating an online platform that will map neighborhood assets and underused public areas (vacant lots, empty storefronts) and engage residents in redevelopment efforts; the platform would help connect residents to collaborate on projects, and highlight funding sources and other information.


DomiNest by IoCI (submitted by Malik Benjamin): Transforming Miami’s iconic “Domino Park” to bring people from diverse backgrounds and ages together for a game of dominos.


Living with Water: Miami Beach Blueways Connector by city of Miami Beach (submitted by  Judy Hoanshelt): Creating a kayak-sharing program that will build on Miami’s transportation network and introduce people to the city’s waterways and unique aquatic ecosystems; kayak stations would be located close to existing bike-share, car-share and transit hubs.


The Underline: Brickell Backyard Outdoor Gym/Sports Field by Friends of The Underline (submitted by Meg Daly): Creating a sports field and gym as part of The Underline, a proposed 10-mile linear park underneath the Miami-Dade Metrorail, to provide quality of life incentives to talented young adults.


BlockWork Miami by Engage Miami and The Miami Foundation (submitted by Nassar Farid Mufdi Ruiz): Providing an annual incentive for residents to transform their neighborhoods block by block; residents would nominate a block for revitalization and would restore it, if it’s chosen to  receive funding.


Open Source Democracy by Engage Miami (submitted by Gabriel Pendas): Creating an app that provides information on issues that the Miami-Dade County Commission and other municipalities are voting on, and allows residents to discuss and cast their own vote on how they feel about a particular issue.


Miami Civic User Testing Group by Code for Miami (submitted by Rebekah Monson): Ensuring that people building local government technology use real-world feedback throughout the development process by creating a user testing group that will identify user experience issues more quickly, while making websites and apps more accessible.


Biscayne Green: Pop-Up Park by Miami Downtown Development Authority (submitted by Fabian de la Espriella): Creating a pop-up park and urban forest along Biscayne Boulevard to drive momentum for “Biscayne Green,” a proposal to redesign Biscayne Boulevard to include a pedestrian promenade.



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