Things to do

From Random Acts of Dinner to Dancin’ in the Street -- 10 ideas to make Charlotte more successful

Fourth Ward Park. CharlotteFive archives
Fourth Ward Park. CharlotteFive archives John D. Simmons - jsimmons@charl

Last year, the Knight Cities Challenge brought us the No Barriers Project and Porch Swings in Public Places. This year, it could bring us some of these 10 ideas.

The Knight Foundation announced its 10 finalists for Charlotte yesterday. The winners — as selected by a panel of reviewers — will share in $5 million to make their idea happen.

The challenge was simple: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

Some great ideas here, a perfect mix of practical — pop-up classes — and totally random — turning an uptown street into a dance party.

Check ’em out and then, just for fun, vote for your favorite at the bottom.

– Foodie Court for Monroe Road Corridor by Monroe Road Community Association (submitted by Leslie Scott): Creating a community gathering space offering good food, as well as programs and activities that bring residents from diverse backgrounds together and encourage them to connect.

RAD (Random Acts of Dinner) (submitted by Ephraim Gerard Gorham): Bringing people from diverse backgrounds and income levels to the dinner table at local restaurants to network, discuss ideas to improve the community and enjoy great food.

Can Do Signs by city of Charlotte (submitted by Sarah Hazel): Rethinking municipal signs that typically tell people “what not to do,” to spur fun, imagination and positivity throughout Charlotte; the project will create signs that provide amusing, enchanting, fun options: You can dance! You can sing! You can skip!

Hops, Hopscotch and Hope by ParentsTogether (submitted by Ailen Arreaza): Helping to connect, educate and mobilize parents around issues that matter to urban families (i.e. schools, safety, transit) through a monthly symposium.

Cards for QC-ity by University of North Carolina Charlotte Urban Institute (submitted by Diane Gavarkavich): Creating a card game that motivates players to learn about Charlotte; the game will address topics such as city history, famous residents, hot spots, landmarks, superstitions, and more.

The Little Free (Connected) Library by Knight School of Communication at Queens University (submitted by Eric Freedman): Transforming free neighborhood libraries into Wi-Fi hotspots that support more digital literacy, a new connected workforce and greater civic engagement.

SkillPop: Community-Based Pop-Up Classes by SkillPop (submitted by Haley Bohon): Connecting newcomers and residents alike with community-driven pop-up classes that allow people to learn new skills, meet people and discover interesting places.

CrownTownHall by city of Charlotte (submitted by Jason Lawrence): Helping residents more easily connect with their local government and get involved with civic issues through pop-up events where they can meet elected officials, sign up for city services, and review area planning efforts.

Dancin’ in the Street by city of Charlotte (submitted by Sarah Hazel and Phil Reiger): Transforming a mundane Uptown street crossing into a dance party by replace the “walking man” street crossing signal with a dancing animation, and introducing dance music and other prompts to encourage people to dance across the street.

Queen City Quiz Show by Charlotte Is Creative (submitted by Tim Miner): Creating a mobile quiz show that will team local musicians and artists with cultural groups to entertain, enlighten and challenge diverse communities with questions about the city from the trivial to the pertinent and controversial.

Which of these 10 finalists in the Knight Cities Challenge do you like best?

Photo: John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer

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