Knight Cities Challenge Names 144 Finalists, 2 in Boulder

Finalists chosen from a pool of more than 4,500 applicants

MIAMI – Jan. 17, 2017 – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced 144 finalists, including 2 in Boulder, in the third annual Knight Cities Challenge, a national call for ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.

Open to innovators of all types, the Knight Cities Challenge asked applicants to answer the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

More than 4,500 applicants answered the call and proposed a wide range of ideas to make cities more successful, from technology and other solutions that better connect local government with the public and increase voter engagement, to creating public spaces – parks, trails, pools, and even treehouses – that connect people from diverse backgrounds and contribute to economic growth. Many of the projects also address pressing community challenges, proposing ideas to break down racial divides, repair blighted neighborhoods, and address social and economic inequities.

Submissions came from many nonprofit and government organizations, as well as design experts, urban planning organizations and individuals focused on making their cities more successful. Each of the ideas focuses on one or more of three drivers of city success:

  • Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep talented people;
  • Opportunity: Ideas that expand economic prospects and break down divides;
  • Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.

The Boulder finalists are below.

Winners, who will receive a share of up to $5 million, will be announced in spring 2017.

“The finalists use creativity and inventiveness to tackle community challenges and realize new opportunities, proposing ideas that are unique to their city, but also hold lessons and inspiration for civic innovators across the country,” said George Abbott, Knight Foundation director for community and national initiatives.

Applicants have to follow only two rules: 1) A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities; and 2) The idea should focus on one or all of three key drivers of city success, talent, opportunity and engagement, as outlined above.

Now in its third year, the challenge is part of a three-year, $15 million commitment that Knight Foundation launched in the fall of 2014. Since then, the Knight Cities Challenge has named a total of 69 winning ideas over its first and second years.

For more information, visit To see the whole list of finalists, visit Knight Finalists article.

Knight Cities Challenge Finalists 2017 from Boulder, Colorado:

Boulder Pop-Up Spots (submitted by Wes Tate): Helping citizens find new ways to engage with each other by creating neighborhood pop-up spots: temporary, small-scale, easily accessible inviting places where people can meet and connect. Examples include a mini-garden, a bike rack with seating area, and a public parklet.

Park Talk: Community Conversation in Shared Spaces by Warm Cookies of the Revolution (submitted by Evan Weissman): Working with city divisions to encourage greater dialogue between residents and their government by activating libraries and open space parks as gathering spaces for people to connect on civic challenges and opportunities.

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They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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