How do we make our cities more successful? That is the question The Knight Foundation asks each year (for the past two, at least) in its Knight Cities Challenge – a dare to anyone in the 26 communities where the Knight Foundation invests to come up with creative, innovative and interesting ways to advance talent, opportunity and engagement – the prime drivers of city success, according to Knight.
Four projects in three Georgia cities received grants this year – out of 4,500 applications.
In Columbus, Urban Glen and Evolving MidTown are the winners. Urban Glen, submitted by the city of Columbus and community development planner Phillip Trocquet, received $4,000 to create small park spaces on vacant properties with lights, trees and hammocks. The goal is two-fold: encourage people to connect with one another while cleaning up city properties.
Evolving MidTown: Lot by Lot, submitted by Jim Kumon, executive director of the Incremental Development Alliance, received $174,400 to recruit and train people to become small-scale developers to help build better neighborhoods and create local wealth and jobs.
In Macon, the Pop-up Minimum Grid, submitted by NewTown Macon, the Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority and Macon-Bibb Government Department of Parks and Beautification, received $151,900 to expand a walking and biking trail system from the river to downtown.
The Democracy Lab in Milledgeville received $25,000 to create shared spaced in downtown to foster civic engagement by hosting public events, meetings with local leaders and serving as a spot for community resources. Twin Lakes Library System submitted this winning idea.
Congratulations to all of the Georgia winners who continue to seek innovative ideas to make our cities and state better.
The 2017 challenge will reopen for submissions in fall 2016.
Image of a proposed Urban Glen courtesy of The Knight Foundation