Today the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced 144 finalists across 26 communities in their third annual Knight Cities Challenge. The contest is a national call for ideas that will make local communities more vibrant places to live and work. The three main themes of the contest are helping cities attract and keep the best talent, expanding economic opportunities, and encouraging civic engagement.
Eight San Jose proposals made the cut and are finalists. Winners will be announced in the Spring and will receive a share of $5 million. All of the San Jose projects sound fantastic to me. Have a look at the list below and let us know which sound most worthy of funding.
San Jose Knight Cities Challenge Finalists
Local Color by Exhibition District (submitted by Erin Salazar): Activating vacant commercial
sites with a creative bazaar featuring artist studios alongside modular, open spaces for multidisciplinary community learning and teaching.
A Mobile Street Amenity Builder by Better Block Foundation (submitted by Jason Roberts):
Developing a mobile unit that includes the resources and tools needed to improve city blocks
and construct public benches, wayfinding signage, bus stops, planters and other resources.
Reimagining the city: Chief Architect of San Jose by Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo, city of San Jose (submitted by Shireen Santosham): Working to ensure San Jose develops into a walkable, green and engaged metropolis by hiring a visionary chief architect.
San Jose Pedestrian Paradise Project by Concrete Gardens (submitted by Liz Ruiz): Artistically reinforcing the established Pedestrian Priority Zone by further developing a pedestrian-focused environment–including sidewalk murals, vacant storefront installations, wayfinding signs–in downtown San Jose’s core.
San Pedro Square Great Public Plaza by Department of Transportation, city of San Jose (submitted by Laura Wells): Piloting a space for community engagement, the Great Public Plaza on San Pedro Street, to inform the design of a potential permanent plaza.
SoFA Playground by Public Space Authority (submitted by Ryan Sebastian): Creating a meeting place for residents to meet and connect with a food truck playground in the heart of San Jose’s arts and culture district.
#TogetherWeVote > Together We Are San Jose! by PACT (People Acting in Community
Together) (submitted by Akemi Flynn): Deepening ongoing civic engagement by engaging new
and first-time voters in discussions to learn about their experiences with voting; the project will also use community events as a forum for sharing how voting makes a difference and how to become more civically involved.
Young Placemakers by City of San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (submitted by Zacharias Edward Gabriel Mendez): Facilitating youth-driven neighborhood improvement projects, by creating opportunities to learn, design and execute ways to enhance and activate public spaces.
For more information, head over to knightcities.org.