An app that allows Miami residents to discuss and vote on actions taken by local government, a culinary incubator in Opa-Locka, a reimagined "Domino Park" and a kayak-sharing program were among 12 concepts chosen as finalists from Miami in the second annual Knight Cities Challenge. Four finalists were also selected from Palm Beach County.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation on Tuesday announced 158 finalists on Tuesday as part of its national call for ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work. More than 4.500 applicants from across the country entered.
"The finalists reflect what the Knight Cities Challenge is about: uncovering new civic innovators and motivating people to realize ideas big and small that can contribute to the success of their cities," said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives, in announcing the finalists.
Winners, who will receive a share of $5 million to fund their projects, will be announced in the spring. The Miami Science Barge, a floating education center for learning about sustainability and marine life now under construction and aiming to open this year, was one of the 32 winners in the inaugural challenge.
The finalists from Miami, which include one with a concept for multiple cities, are:
Thrive Kitchen by Opa-locka Community Development Corp. (submitted by Aileen Alon): Creating a shared commercial kitchen and business incubator to stimulate Miami's food entrepreneurs in South Florida's underserved communities.
First Taste: Little River by First Taste (submitted by Amy Rosenberg): Enabling food entrepreneurs at a regular food flea market in Little River to showcase their products to the public and grow their businesses.
Orange Blossom Parkway Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail for Proposed Hialeah MarketDistrict by city of Hialeah (submitted by Annette Quintana): Creating an urban linear park connecting Hialeah Market Station and Hialeah Drive to provide residents with a space to walk, bike, play and connect.
Community Asset Platform by Center for Applied Transect Studies (submitted by Hank Dittmar): Creating an online platform that will map neighborhood assets and underused public areas (vacant lots, empty storefronts) and engage residents in redevelopment efforts.
DomiNest by IoCI (submitted by Malik Benjamin): Transforming Miami's iconic â€œDomino Parkâ€ to bring people from diverse backgrounds and ages together for a game of dominos.
Living with Water: Miami Beach Blueways Connector by city of Miami Beach (submitted by Judy Hoanshelt): Creating a kayak-sharing program that will build on Miami's transportation network and introduce people to the city's waterways and unique aquatic ecosystems.
The Underline: Brickell Backyard Outdoor Gym/Sports Field by Friends of The Underline (submitted by Meg Daly): Creating a sports field and gym as part of The Underline, a proposed 10-mile linear park underneath the Miami-Dade Metrorail, to provide quality of life incentives to talented young adults.
BlockWork Miami (submitted by Nassar Farid Mufdi Ruiz): Providing an annual incentive for residents to transform their neighborhoods; residents would nominate a block for revitalization and would restore it if it's chosen to receive funding.
Open Source Democracy by Engage Miami (submitted by Gabriel Pendas): Creating an app that provides information on issues that the Miami-Dade County Commission and other municipalities are voting on, and allows residents to discuss and cast their own vote on how they feel.
Miami Civic User Testing Group by Code for Miami (submitted by Rebekah Monson): Ensuring that people building local government technology use real-world feedback throughout the development process by creating a user testing group that will identify user experience issues more quickly, while making websites and apps more accessible.
Biscayne Green: Pop-Up Park by Miami Downtown Development Authority (submitted by Fabian de la Espriella): Creating a pop-up park and urban forest along Biscayne Boulevard to drive momentum for Biscayne Green, a proposal to redesign Biscayne Boulevard to include a pedestrian promenade.
This Is Home (finalist in category for Multiple Cities) by Global Ties Miami (submitted by Annette G. Alvarez): Welcoming refugee and immigrant families and connecting them with their neighbors and neighborhoods through shared community dinners and cultural experiences.
In Palm Beach County, the finalists are:
Friends of the Quadrille Linear Park (submitted by Aaron Wormus): Taking advantage of the construction around the All Aboard Florida rail service to create a friends' group to work towards a new linear park for downtown West Palm Beach.
Art Avenida by Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (submitted by Joan Olliva): Improving public space in Lake Worth by transforming four downtown intersections with art, light, plantings and structures that celebrate diverse cultures.
A People First Design Criteria for Streets in the City of West Palm Beach by city of West Palm Beach (submitted by Chris Roog): Improving streets and public rights of way by developing design standards that prioritize people over cars.
The Sunset Rises Again! by the City of West Palm Beach (submitted by Jon Ward): Creating a new cultural hub in the Northwest Historic District on the site of a former jazz club and surrounding land.
Find the full list of finalists here.