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Miami Foundation accepting ideas for 2014 Public Space Challenge

The Miami Foundation is accepting idea submissions through Apr. 8 for the 2014 Public Space Challenge.

The countywide challenge again seeks to uncover the best ideas for creating and improving local public spaces. Ideas may be submitted at ourmiami.org/challenge by anyone, including individuals, groups, for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations.

Community experts and professional placemakers will identify the top ideas. The Miami Foundation and Health Foundation of South Florida will invest $100,000 and $30,000, respectively, to make the ideas become reality.

The program is part of The Miami Foundation’s Our Miami initiative, which fosters community by building attachment to the city, developing public spaces and retaining young talent in Miami.

“Vibrant public spaces are essential to social engagement in our neighborhoods and Miami’s civic life,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “During the inaugural 2013 challenge, this community generated incredible energy and awareness benefiting Miami’s public spaces. By allowing every resident a voice through our idea submission platform, we hope Miamians will take personal interest in creating a more appealing and connected city.”

Last year, more than 250 ideas were submitted.

Public spaces are defined as parks, libraries, public buildings, markets, plazas, playgrounds or any place where people can convene and link up.

Health Foundation of South Florida will again invest an additional $30,000 in the challenge to fund ideas promoting healthy, physical exercise activities and access to fresh food through gardens and farmer’s markets.

Shelly Baer, Brickell resident and 2013 Challenge winner, had the idea to install benches along the Brickell Bay Drive walkway. Soon, local residents will be able to sit and chat with scenic Biscayne Bay as a backdrop.

“I was overwhelmed with the community support for my idea,” Baer said. “It was such a simple way to improve the neighborhood and I’m glad the challenge empowered me to make it happen.”

Representatives from The Miami Foundation along with winners from last year’s Public Space Challenge will host training and information seminars throughout the submission period. Community experts and placemakers will evaluate all submissions and select finalists. These finalists will have professional support to develop full proposals, from which winners will be selected and announced in early summer.

The Public Space Challenge is part of The Miami Foundation’s Our Miami initiative, which aims to attract and retain young talent in Miami-Dade by fostering a greater sense of community and by building attachment to the city.

“Public spaces shape the way we interact with our environment. These are the places we meet, relax, and connect with each other,” said Stuart Kennedy, senior programs officer for The Miami Foundation. “Everyone has the power to build a better Miami, and the Public Space Challenge allows us to invest in those ready to do so.”

For more information, help with developing ideas, or information about last year’s winners, visit ourmiami.org/challenge.

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