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

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    ‘Knight Cities’ podcast: Miami Science Barge, a showcase for environmental education

    July 30, 2015, 1:46 p.m., Posted by Carol Coletta

    Can an old barge sitting in Biscayne Bay help the city of Miami come face to face with the challenge of climate change?

    Knight Cities podcast

    That’s the intent of the Miami Science Barge, a creation of CappSci and one of 32 winners of the Knight Cities Challenge in its first year.

    Alissa Farina is an innovation associate at CappSci, a foundation that applies “science and engineering to real-world problems, and one of the organizers of the Miami Science Barge. Here are five things you should know about the project:

    1.     The Miami Science Barge will be a floating urban ecological laboratory and public environmental education center on Biscayne Bay at Museum Park in downtown Miami.

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    Urban Land Institute initiative  to help build better communities

    July 30, 2015, 1:24 p.m., Posted by Patrick L. Phillips

    Photo: Cadillac Square in Detroit. Credit: Michigan Municipal League on

    Patrick L. Phillips is the global chief executive officer of the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit education and research institute that provides leadership in the responsible use of land and in sustaining and creating thriving communities worldwide. Downtown Detroit photo courtesy Urban Land Institute.

    Communities across the nation are moving away from the tendency to design and build for cars (so 20th century) to an approach that puts the needs and desires of people first. At the Urban Land Institute, we’re excited about the notion that as cities become more livable, they are more resilient to economic cycles and even natural disasters. The social cohesion that comes with a high quality of life is a powerful catalyst for the investment needed to grow during good times and recover during the bad ones.  

    This community-building trend holds much promise, provided that what is being done to enhance livability is available to all residents. Recent research from the Urban Land Institute suggests, however, that this is not the case. “America in 2015,” released in May, finds that many Americans face significant community design-related barriers to enjoying a healthy, high quality of life. A large number of people, particularly minorities and millennials, report living in areas that lack easy access to safe places for outdoor physical activity, and active transportation systems such as bike lanes, and healthy food options.   

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    Learning to be an angel (investor)

    July 30, 2015, 11 a.m., Posted by Fernando Gonzalez

    An entrepreneurial ecosystem is more than the serendipitous sum of its parts. For South Florida, having a good number of enterprising bright minds, low labor costs, strong universities and a privileged location is a good start. But somewhere between skepticism and hype, funding and educated investors remain essential in developing an entrepreneurial community — especially one focusing on disruptive technologies.

    That education was the subject of the recently completed Angel Education Series, a cycle of six workshops focusing on training the South Florida investment community in the ins and outs of angel investing.  It addressed topics such as “Valuations,” “Portfolio Strategy,” “Post-investment Relationship,” “Legalities of Angel Investing” and “Picking Winners.”

    The series was organized by Accelerated Growth Partners, a Miami-based angel investor network funded by Knight Foundation, Greenberg Traurig and Northwestern UniversityKellogg School of Management. According to the presenters, more than 400 people attended, 80 percent of whom were potential investors; the rest were entrepreneurs and service providers such as attorneys and accountants.

    For the organizers, the series was the result of their own learning experiences.

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