Skip to navigationSkip to content
Knight Foundation
Pop-up pool zumba?

This is your chance to redesign a US city

Anne Quito
By Anne Quito

Design and architecture reporter

“Man, if only this city had better parks, or more public pools, or more benches.” If you’ve ever caught yourself mentally playing mayor or city architect, this is your chance.

Starting today, (Oct 1), the Knight Foundation is inviting anyone—architects, artists, designers, activists, hackers and dabblers of all kind—to propose their best ideas for their Cities Challenge competition.

The private US-based nonprofit has set aside $5 million to fund projects that enhance civic life in 26 US cities. Now on its second year, the Cities Challenge is open to any design team in the world, and aims at funding wildly imaginative new ideas. ”We’re particularly interested in ideas that knit people across the economic divide,” says Carol Coletta, who oversees the program.

Among last year’s 32 winning ideas are clearer, sexier signs for polling stations in Philadelphia, a floating sustainable farm on a Miami barge and a project that pairs barbers with landscape contractors, to mow and manicure overgrown lots in Detroit.

Knight Foundation
Next Stop: Democracy! The Voting Signage Project

Of course, it’s not just about having good ideas. “If you have an idea, we’ll also expect you to execute it,” explains Coletta to Quartz.

The deadline for the Knight Foundation Cities Challenge is Oct. 27, 12 pm EST.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.