Last fall, the Knight Foundation asked 26 communities across the country: How would you make your city more successful?
The answers are in, and nine submissions from San Jose were named finalists. That puts them in the running for the final round this spring when the foundation will divvy up $5 million to winning ideas.
Among the finalists are former Mayor Chuck Reed and his chief of staff, Peter Furman, who want to create a set of tools to make municipal budgets easier to digest for the average person.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts suggests a Bay Area Prototyping Festival, where the public is invited to drum up "public space" solutions for problems including blight and economic opportunity.
Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association, submitted a plan to turn the ground floor of the San Pedro Square parking garage into a retail space.
People from 26 communities around the country submitted 7,000 ideas to the Knight Foundation. That number was whittled down to 126 for this round.
“The challenge has introduced us to a host of new ideas and people who want to take hold of the future of their cities,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “Through these new connections we hope to grow a network of civic innovators to take on community challenges and build solutions together.”
Here's the full list of finalists from San Jose:
San Jose, Calif.
The Bay Area Prototyping Festival by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (Submitted by Deborah Cullinan): Creating a large-scale urban prototyping festival that will call on the community to address challenges such as blight and lack of economic opportunity through public space solutions.
Civic One by The Tech Museum of Innovation (Submitted by Maryanna Rogers): Inviting the public to both imagine and test solutions for one significant city issue every year.
Crowdsourcing Three Creeks Trail Design & Development (Submitted by Scott Lane): Involving the Willow Glen community in designing and maintaining San Jose’s Three Creeks Trail.
Knight Houses by Houslets (Submitted by Tim McCormick): Prototyping and deploying low-cost, modular, off-grid housing and workspace units to serve as civic building blocks to accommodate events, projects, creative space or the homeless.
Local Government Fiscal Assessment Tool (Submitted by Peter Furman and former Mayor Chuck Reed): Increasing transparency by designing a suite of tools to open up city budgets and make them comprehensible to the average person.
Mapping Learning Resources by Institute for the Future (Submitted by Sara Skvirsky): Mapping and sharing community knowledge through a “time bank” where residents can exchange hours of teaching for hours of learning, gain new skills and form new connections.
The Resolution (Submitted by Joshua Johnson): Making civic debates as engaging as televised sports coverage by assigning teams to an issue, crowdsourcing research, and presenting the debate live online
San Pedro Squared by San Jose Downtown Association (Submitted by Scott Knies): Transforming the ground floor of a parking lot in the San Pedro Square to build momentum around economic revival of the area by introducing ground floor retail to the garage.
We Run This Space by Somos Mayfair (Submitted by Camille Llanes-Fontanilla): Transforming unused community centers, rundown buildings and empty lots into community-owned and -operated spaces for residents to shape and develop with their own innovative ideas.