The Knight Foundation announced today that it has chosen 126 finalists from more than 7,000 ideas submitted as part of its Knight Cities Challenge, a call for innovative solutions to problems in the 26 cities where the Foundation's founders, John S. and James L. Knight, owned newspapers.
The ideas submitted include quite a few that would benefit downtowns, from an urban babysitting service (Akron, Ohio) to turning a vacant steam plant into an arts center (Columbia, South Carolina). Public art, communication, alternative energy, adaptive use, entrepreneurship, bike/pedestrian services, and healthy food all figure prominently in the suggestions. You can find a complete list of the 126 finalist ideas here. The Knight Foundation will announce the winners in March. The winning entries will share a $5 million pool to implement their ideas.