Five Innovative Ideas to Create Vibrant Cities: 8 80 Cities Collaborating on Projects Shortlisted for the Knight Cities Challenge

8 80 Cities is proud to announce that we are partnering on five exciting applications that were selected as finalists for the Knight Cities Challenge. From a pool of $5 million, the Knight Cities Challenge will reward new ideas to create vibrant communities in 26 Knight Foundation cities. The 158 finalist applications were selected among more than 4,500 ideas.

Here we present the ideas that 8 80 Cities is collaborating on:

#Route10: Akron’s Better Bus Stop Project – Akron, OH
Partnering with the City of Akron and Better Block
Encouraging new conversations about transit and life in the city of Akron with a daylong event that invites civic leaders to experience newly animated bus stops along Route 10, featuring entertainment and new amenities.

Better Block Bus Stop: We think bus stops should dignify transit users with innovative programming and quality design, like this stop in Baltimore.











Parking Lot Diaries – Lexington, KY
Partnering with Lexington Downtown Development Authority and Blue Grass Community Foundation
Creating a living civic engagement lab in an underused area next to the Transit Center that tests and tracks temporary interventions and activities designed to add vibrancy to the area; the project will contribute to the city’s Town Branch Commons plan. 8 80 Cities will conduct public life studies during each pop-up intervention to help determine how the site should be developed in the future.

Pop-Up Minimum Grid – Macon, GA
Partnering with NewTown Macon, City of Macon, and Better Block
Creating a pop-up minimum grid that would allow citizens to explore their city safely on foot or on bicycles; the project would expand a trail system from the river to downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. 8 80 Cities’ role will be to facilitate engagement and programming activities during the event, and summarize key lessons in a final report.

The Sunset Rises Again! – West Palm Beach, FL
Partnering with Office of the Mayor, West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, Northwest Community Consortium Inc., and Better Block.
Creating a new cultural hub in the Northwest Historic District on the site of a former jazz club and surrounding land. 8 80 Cities will lead a community engagement process to identify short-term projects that will allow residents to test new ideas, uses, and experiences on the site. The final result is a strategic framework for development, with a focus on making Sunset Lounge and adjacent lands a local hub for public and creative life.

Grand Forks Presents: Winter Streets! – Grand Forks, ND
Partnering with City of Grand Forks and Grand Forks Downtown Development Association
Creating the first Winter Streets festival to bring life to streets, and entice people of all ages out of hibernation. 8 80 Cities will provide our Open Streets consulting services, design program evaluation, and use community engagement activities to develop a winter city strategy for Grand Forks.

Winter Streets: Or work has shown that people will get active and enjoy public spaces if you give them creative reasons to do so, like the annual Winter carnival in Cochrane, ON.











The winners of the competition will be announced in February. In the meantime, we’re crossing our fingers and toes.

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