The $5 Million Knight Cities Challenge

Telepwn via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, I posted a guest lecture I did with the University of Miami, where I talked about trends in citizen science. In particular, I talked about the Internet of things, mobile apps, and potential extended uses of the citizen science movement, including civic applications. If you haven't listened to it yet, you might want to for inspiration for this next project: The Knight Cities Challenge.

As you will have noticed, our populations are increasingly urban, and while urbanization can create a lot of synergies, it can also create a lot of problems. We need innovative thinkers to help improve our cities, and increasingly, organizations are realizing that innovators can be found anywhere. You might be one of them!

To that end, the Knight Cities Challenge is offering $5 million for the best ideas to make cities better. The Challenge is open to everyone, but the Knight foundation particularly wants to hear from techies and hackers. That's because many hackers do what they do to help improve security, challenge authority, and prompt change.

The challenge has just two rules:

  1. A submission may come from anywhere, but the project would be applied to one or more of 26 Knight communities.

The challenge is open to anyone from anywhere: citizen scientists, neighbors, architects, activists, artists, city planners, entrepreneurs, students, educators, city officials. Even governments and organizations are encouraged to apply.

The application process is simple. You just provide two pieces of information:

  1. Describe your idea and how it will advance talent, opportunity or engagement.
  2. Describe what you intend to learn.

The project is being funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

For more information or to apply, visit KnightCities.org. The challenge closes on Nov. 14, 2014, at 5 p.m. ET.

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Chandra Clarke is a Webby Honoree-winning blogger, a successful entrepreneur, and an author. Her book Be the Change: Saving the World with Citizen Science is available at Amazon. You can connect with her on Twitter @chandraclarke.