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Knight Cities Challenge Seeks Ideas On How To Make Miami More Successful

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Here at Cultist, we're well familiar with the Knight Arts Challenge, a yearly initiative whose overall goal is to bring South Florida together through the arts. But what about the less artistically gifted among us who want to make a difference? Knight officials have announced a bigger playing field with the Knight Cities Challenge, calling on innovators in Miami of all types to submit ideas on how to make our city more successful.

A hybrid of the arts and news challenges, the new program from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will award winners a share of $5 million to fund their projects. Applications will be accepted through November 14 at knightcities.org.

See also: Knight Arts Challenge Winner Teo Castellanos Will Bring Third Trinity to the Stage

According to the foundation, cities thrive by fostering local talent and engaging the public in agendas for their communities' future. Officials want applicants to set the stage for such engagement, be it through arts, communications, or other methods.

"There are a multitude of ideas that we haven't yet discovered and we need these to get us there," Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director, told New Times. "Knight Foundation has used the News and Art Challenges to surface wonderful ideas from a broad range of people and organizations; for this challenge our goal is to find ideas to make cities successful, from people who are willing to take hold of their city's future."

The Knight Cities Challenge in Miami has two rules:

1. A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place in or benefit Miami.

2. The idea should focus on one or more of three key drivers of city success:

  • Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest
  • Opportunity: Ideas that create economic prospects and break down divides
  • Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement

The challenge is open to anyone, from architects, activists, and artists to city planners, business owners, and students. Applicants need to describe their idea and how it will advance their city and describe what they intend to learn through the project. Unlike the Knight Arts Challenge, applicants don't need to raise funds to match the Knight Cities Challenge grant.

"Miami is transforming into a place where ideas can be built, through its growing tech start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem, that Knight Foundation has helped nurture," Haggman said. "We hope this challenge will help even more people become engaged in shaping Miami's future, while helping our core focus on entrepreneurship through projects that make Miami more attractive to the talent we need to bring and keep."

To help with the application process or answer other questions, virtual office hours will be held on October 14 from 3 to 4 p.m. (using ID 829368066), or via phone at 1-888-240-2560.

The application period for the Knight Cities Challenge will close at 5 p.m. November 14. Community members and entrepreneurs, as well as experts in urban planning, design, academia and government, will help Knight review entries. Knight will announce finalists and winners in early 2015.

Visit knightcities.org to apply.

Follow Shelly Davidov on Twitter @ShellyDavidov.

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

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