Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Share your inspiration for Knight News Challenge: Libraries

Sept. 2, 2014, 2 p.m., Posted by John Bracken


Photo by New Calgary Central Library on Flickr. 

“How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” That’s the question we’ll be asking you to help answer in the next Knight News Challenge.

As we mentioned last week, we’ll open the challenge Wednesday, Sept. 10. As part of the buildup, we’re asking you to talk to us about what inspires you about libraries, about what problems and opportunities you would like to see addressed through the News Challenge.

For our part, we see three key assets of libraries that we hope to build upon: librarians, the highly trained human capital that specializes in finding and sharing information; the public trust and goodwill that libraries have built as trusted institutions; and libraries themselves, the physical assets where people can safely gather with their neighbors.

The challenge will be open to anyone from anywhere, but our primary focus is on U.S.-based library projects.

Does placemaking help democracy?

Aug. 29, 2014, 10 a.m., Posted by Andrew Sherry

Above: Study group members discuss ideas to take home from Copenhagen as a fly fisherman practices casting. Credit: Torbjörn Larsson/Knight Foundation.

Planning, designing and managing public spaces with human beings squarely at the center of the picture produces remarkably livable cities and economic growth. Does it also strengthen democracy by bringing people together to address shared issues?

Related Links

"Study tour gets street-level view of how Copenhagen reinvented itself" by Andrew Sherry on Aug. 25 in Knight Blog

It’s an important question for Knight Foundation, which supports informed and engaged communities because we believe they help democracy to thrive. Most city planners, architects and others involved in placemaking tend to speak primarily in practical terms, though: pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, grids of bike paths, programming in parks.

Riccardo Marini, a director of Gehl Architects, spoke for a full morning on the practicalities of placemaking projects to more than 30 people on a late August study tour to Copenhagen organized by 8-80 Cities and sponsored by Knight. But when pressed to say what was at the core of the work, he didn’t hesitate.

Artists-in-residence amplify creative energy of North Philly neighborhood

Aug. 29, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Lillian Dunn

Above: SPACES Episode 1: Designing Together from The Village.

The SPACES Artists-in-Residence program at The Village of Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia, a winner of the 2013 Knight Arts Challenge, offers a new spin on the artist residency model.

Instead of working in remote solitude, SPACES artists move into colorful row homes in the heart of North Philadelphia. More “residents” than “in residence,” the artists work alongside their new neighbors to amplify the gifts and stories of the community and creatively strengthen our neighborhood as a whole. 

SPACES began its first cycle on June 14, 2014, with two different residences. Renowned music producer King Britt is working with neighborhood musicians to record an album of their work and start a radio station amplifying the voice of North Philly. And the Philadelphia-based Amber Art + Design Collective is creating large-scale community meals in our art parks that feature remixed recipes by local cooks. Both projects have already blossomed in unexpected ways.