“It’s an Honour to Be Nominated.” 8 80 Cities Listed as Finalist for Knight Cities Challenge

It’s awards season in Hollywood which means there’s a lot of “It’s an honour just to be nominated” going around. It’s an annoying and clichéd statement, but one that 8 80 Cities can currently relate to. Earlier this month, the Knight Foundation announced 144 finalists for the 2017 Knight Cities Challenge. 8 80 Cities is proud to be co-leading or collaborating on three finalist applications.

Each year, the competition doles out a $5 million pot for the biggest and brightest ideas to create better cities and stronger communities. This year, they received more than 4,500 applications. That means applications had a 3.2% chance of moving onto the final round. Needless to say, it’s an honour just to be listed as a finalist.

Here are the three ideas 8 80 Cities collaborated with local partners to submit:

• Making Canal Park Pop: A Pop-up Parklet Project by City of Duluth: Connecting residents to both Canal Park and to each other by creating a pop-up parklet that will encourage more people to visit.

• Winterize Grand Forks by Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals: Helping residents enjoy winter more with a series of interactive winter programs in public spaces that bring people out of hibernation.

• Tuning In and Scaling Up: Increasing Open Streets Frequency by 8 80 Cities: Developing a replicable model to reduce known financial and administrative barriers to open streets programs, which repurpose streets for people rather than vehicles.

There are lots of inspiring ideas vying for the prize. Some of our favourite finalists are ideas submitted by our past and current Emerging City Champions. These include:

• Mack Lot:A New Kind of Gathering Place (submitted by Ezekiel Harris): Bringing people of different backgrounds together by transforming a vacant 8,000-square-foot lot into a meeting space that will include a performance stage, a playground, rain gardens, public work spaces and space for food vendors.

• Detroit Youth Council of Urban Explorers (submitted by Rebecca Bucky Willis): Helping the next generation advocate for good city planning by sending Detroit teenagers to pioneering cities to learn best practices they can execute back home.

• The Table (submitted by Orlando P. Bailey): Giving people a voice in what happens next in their neighborhoods by convening them regularly to share ideas that can move the city forward.

• Your Move, Charlotte (submitted by Varian Shrum): Strengthening connections between citizens and local government through a weekly podcast and follow-up roundtable, in which government representatives and millennials engage on local issues.

• Bradenton Champions (submitted by Simone Peterson): Connecting people from different backgrounds, who love Bradenton and want to pursue projects that bring improved public spaces, innovation, events and vibrancy to the city.

• Civiclex.org: A Platform for an Informed Civic Democracy (submitted by Richard Young): Informing and engaging more people about the issues facing city government through a new digital platform.

• Local Color (submitted by Erin Salazar): Activating vacant commercial sites with a creative bazaar featuring artist studios alongside modular, open spaces for multidisciplinary community learning and teaching.

• Young Placemakers by City of San Jose (submitted by Zacharias Mendez): Facilitating youth-driven neighborhood improvement projects, by creating opportunities to learn, design and execute ways to enhance and activate public spaces.

Congratulations to all the finalists! 8 80 Cities is proud to be listed among so many bold ideas to creative positive change in our cities.

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