Ten ideas from St. Paul have made the cut among 158 finalists in the Knight Cities Challenge, according to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Finalists were chosen from a pool of more than 4,500 applicants. The Challenge is open to innovators of all types, according to the foundation. In its second of three years, the Challenge is a national call by the Knight Foundation for ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.
It hinges on one basic question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?
Ideas came from nonprofits, government organizations, design experts and urban planning groups. Winners receive a share of $5 million and will be announced later this spring. The 10 finalists from St. Paul are:
Taking Down Fences, Celebrating New Space Together by The Trust for Public Land -- creating new green space along St. Paul’s Central Corridor by transforming a vacant lot into a park for soccer and other activities.
More Than a Single Continent: An Intellectual Tour of Little Africa by African Economic Development Solutions -- Increasing community engagement and breaking down social barriers through a series of events featuring food, music and discussions at restaurants in St. Paul’s Little Africa neighborhood.
Bright Collective by Kris Huson -- Increasing civic engagement and community connections with a catalog of experts that residents can “check out” to learn more on a variety of topics.
It’s Cool by St. Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development -- Encouraging more use of public space in fall and early spring through pilot projects that provide heaters and other infrastructure to make it more comfortable for people to gather.
Front Lawn Placemaking by The Musicant Group -- Transforming front lawns from empty expanses of grass through the development of a toolkit that encourages residents to create community hubs on their doorsteps.
St. Paul veloCITY Academy for Emerging Public Innovators by city of St. Paul -- Increasing civic engagement in partnership with GovLoop and Textizen by using tools such as text messaging to inspire and equip emerging leaders.
Civic Shed by St. Paul Riverfront Corp. -- Creating an accessible set of public space prototyping tools, such as landscaping elements and seating--and places to store them--for use by community groups to test neighborhood improvements.
Welcome Neighbor by Tousue Vang -- Welcoming new immigrants with a resource packet that features information on events, services and stores to help them acclimate to life in Minnesota.
Neighborhood Beer Garden Tour by St. Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development -- Promoting civic engagement and community connections by creating pop-up beer gardens in each of St. Paul’s 17 neighborhoods.
I'm Going to Vote Today! by Aaron Sackett -- Testing a new way to increase participation in local elections by distributing stickers that read “I'm Going to Vote Today” to eligible voters to wear on Election Day.