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Knight Foundation awards $5 million for 37 experimental urban projects

"Sensors in a Shoebox," an idea from the University of Michigan to train youth to use sensors to track traffic, noise or temperature in their neighborhoods, was one of 37 winners in a Knight Foundation urban innovation competition. (Arduino Labs/flickr/cc)

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation this week awarded US$5 million to 37 projects that expand the creative boundaries of urban innovation. The award will be shared among 19 U. S. cities that range from major metropolitan areas, such as Detroit, to tiny Grand Forks in the state of South Dakota.

Many of the winning proposals are experimental and groundbreaking in nature. In Philadelphia, hip hop music would be used as a tool for training low-income residents about business opportunities. A “bicycle park” in Akron, Ohio, is envisioned along an abandoned stretch of highway.

In Detroit, residents would share stories about their neighborhoods while leading groups on bike tours. Several of the proposals emphasize pop-up space for entrepreneurs and community engagement.

The challenge is now in its second year. In 2015, the foundation awarded an additional $5 million to 32 projects. The latest competition attracted more than 4,500 ideas for the 26 U. S. communities where the foundation invests. 

See the whole list of this year’s winners here.

Knight Foundation

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