Three Charlotte projects won awards in the Knight Cities Challenge, an effort to make communities more vibrant places to live and work.
The challenge attracted more than 4,500 ideas in the 26 communities where the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests.
The challenge asked innovators of all kinds to answer the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?
A total of $5 million was awarded to 37 innovative projects.
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Each idea centers on helping cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunities and create a culture of civic engagement.
The three Charlotte winners and the amounts they won:
▪ CrownTownHall by the city of Charlotte, $85,000, 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.
▪ Can Do Signs by the city of Charlotte, $27,900, 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!
▪ Queen City Quiz Show by Charlotte Is Creative, $85,000, 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.
“At its core, the Knight Cities Challenge is about discovering and connecting civic innovators, creative interventionists who inspire positive change,” Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president, said in announcing the winners Tuesday morning. “The winners reflect this goal. Their ideas have the potential to create stronger communities and spaces that spur learning, engagement and growth.”
Open to any individual, business, government or nonprofit, the Knight Cities Challenge has just two rules. A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place in or benefit one or more of the 26 communities where Knight invests, and the idea should focus on one or more of three drivers of city success: talent, opportunity and engagement.
The challenge will reopen for submissions in the fall. Details are available online at www.knightcities.org.