October 1, 2020

News Release

21 Florida city projects among 144 finalists in the 2017 Knight Cities Challenge

| 1/17/2017

The Knight City Challenge, part of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, received more than 4,500 applications the 2017 competition. Each applicant had to respond to the question, What’s your best idea to make cities more successful? 21 Florida projects are among the 144 finalists. All will move forward to the next phase of the national call for ideas to make the 26 Knight communities more successful. The 26 winners will receive a share of up to $5 million each.

Florida finalists for the Knight City Challenge:

Bradenton, Florida:

  • Bradenton Champions (submitted by Simone Peterson): Connecting people from different backgrounds, who love Bradenton and want to pursue projects that bring improved public spaces, innovation, events and vibrancy to the city.
  • The Creative Garage ~ A Maker Takeover by Realize Bradenton (submitted by Johnette Isham): Expanding economic opportunity for makers and creative entrepreneurs by transforming the first floor of the city’s new parking garage into a retail and entertainment destination.
  • Encounter: Recreating Courthouse Square as a Plaza by Realize Bradenton (submitted by Catherine Ferrer): Encouraging greater community connection by transforming a public space in the city center into a Latin American-influenced pop-up plaza that weaves people, place, memory, commerce, culture and generations.
  • How to Run for Office (submitted by Stephen Boyes): Encouraging more people to play a big role in shaping their city through a new nonpartisan curriculum that trains and educates citizens on how to run for local political office.
  • iAMBradenton by Manatee County Government (submitted by Simone Peterson): Encouraging greater civic engagement by opening up avenues for citizens to participate in government decision-making in non-traditional settings such as bus stops, landmarks and other public gathering places.


  • 395 Park by Omni Community Redevelopment Agency (submitted by Jason Walker): Giving the Omni community a place to gather by converting three blighted, vacant city blocks into a large urban park with businesses, a skate park, art installations and restaurants.
  • Dan Paul Park Recreation Center (submitted by Mauricio Velazquez): Transforming Dan Paul Park into an active recreation hub by installing soccer fields, bike paths and a playground.
  • Green Space Pop-ups by Audubon Florida (submitted by Eric Draper): Creating incentives for developers to lend private vacant land for green spaces in urban Miami-Dade.
  • Instant City: A micro-urban infrastructure (submitted by James Brazil): Creating a network of mobile pop-up containers to activate underused public spaces and carparks around the city.
  • Ludlam Days by Green Mobility Network (submitted by Mari Chael): Building momentum for the Miami Loop, a proposed 70-mile greenway, through a series of events and demonstrations.
  • Magic City Innovation Challenge by Venture Cafe Miami (submitted by Leigh-Ann Buchanan): Nurturing Miami’s native talent and emerging innovation ecosystem through a competition that challenges college students to solve real-world civic and business problems.
  • Miami Great Streets Program by Street Plans Collaborative (submitted by Anthony Garcia): Establishing a program within Miami-Dade County in partnership with local transportation nonprofit Green Mobility Network that advances low-cost, quick-build transportation and open space projects.
  • The MIA Market (submitted by Mauricio Velazquez): Reinvigorating Overtown while creating opportunities for residents and chefs by repurposing a vacant warehouse into a neighborhood market.
  • OurSchoolYards (submitted by Wifredo Fernandez): Bridging the divide between communities and their public schools by transforming underused school yards into public parks.
  • Rep(resentative) MIA by Engage Miami (submitted by Rob Biskupic-Knight): Breaking down barriers to civic participation by putting clear, actionable information about local elected officials directly into citizens’ hands.
  • WiFi Parks @ Overtown by Venture Cafe Miami (submitted by Leigh-Ann Buchanan): Bringing public Wi-Fi to parks in Overtown to improve digital access and encourage people to connect in the outdoors.

Palm Beach County, Florida:

  • 12 for 12: Pop-up to Rent by city of West Palm Beach (submitted by Christopher Roog): Expanding on the success of a pilot pop-up gallery project by inviting local talent to activate 12 empty storefront spaces as an economic catalyst for West Palm Beach.
  • The Tie Beam by city of West Palm Beach (submitted by Sybille Welter): Connecting east and west downtown residents by creating a public space parallel to the railroad tracks that encourages pedestrian activity and integrates public art, transportation and urban design.

Tallahassee, Florida:

  • Capital City Night Market (submitted by Mike Field): Building stronger neighborhoods and expanding economic opportunity with the Capital City Night Market, which will act as an incubator for small businesses.
  • The Secret Life of Benches by Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency (submitted by Megan E. Doherty): Helping to create engaging public spaces by studying how seating such as park benches encourages or limits neighborhood life, and determining if all seating is truly created equal.
  • Tactical Urbanism Toolkit (submitted by Devan Leavins): Bringing together resources and tools that help residents launch fast, fun projects to improve their neighborhoods.

See the complete list of finalists here. The winners will be announced this spring.

Tags: Non-profit/Philanthropy

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