The Miami Foundation’s Public Space Challenge wants to fund your next big idea.

The Miami Foundation is opening its Public Space Challenge on Tuesday, March 7, to grant another $305,000 to community members who have creative and innovative ideas to engage their public spaces.

Since launching in 2013, The Miami Foundation has granted funds to projects ranging from one-off park bench installations to long-term initiatives like The Underline. This year, Target is supporting the contest to encourage ideas centered on healthy living and eating. Miami-Dade County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces is also partnering to help inform their rollout of the Parks and Open Space Master Plan, which has the vision of getting a great public space within walking distance of every Miamian.

“Public spaces bring all kinds of social benefits. They grow the economy, and make for safer neighborhoods and healthier communities,” says Stuart Kennedy, director of program strategy and innovation for The Miami Foundation.

The idea is to tap the community’s expertise on how to better improve, activate, or create their own public spaces. That’s where you come in. Here’s our rundown on how to get involved.

Who can submit their ideas?

Anybody. You can apply as an individual, along with a group of people, or on behalf of a nonprofit organization or a for-profit business – the only stipulation is that your project is in the Greater Miami area.

What kinds of ideas are they looking for?

“Great ideas come from folks that look at existing spaces from new perspectives, or folks that see a place that is underutilized or they themselves want to use differently and see what it could be,” says Kennedy.

There are four categories in this year’s contest:
Parks & Natural Areas – green spaces, nature preserves, neighborhood parks, and activations/programming
Greenways & Blueways – projects like The Underline and Ludlam Trail, rivers and public spaces on the water, biking and walking paths
Safe Routes to Parks – helping people access public spaces safely through better streets, paths, and safety programs
Public Spaces – other public places for people to gather, learn, relax, and play

It’s up to you to decide the range of your idea – whether you want to build community by installing a disc golf course or bring healthy lifestyle options to your hood by running a community garden – but remember to keep it human.Think neighborhood-level and feasible enough that you, your friends, or your org can see it through while living your normal lives.

Here are some ideas from last year’s PSC winners:

What happens if you win?

While The Miami Foundation provides the funds, local partners like innovator group Urban Impact Lab provide support with technical assistance and project implementation. Aside from that, winners are the ones responsible for carrying out their visions (so make sure you choose something you’re passionate about).

Public Workshops:

Challenge Webinar
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. March 13
Registration information to come

Challenge workshop – Palmetto Bay Golf Course
Community Room
9300 SW 152nd St.
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 14
RSVP on Facebook

Challenge Workshop – Doral City Hall
8401 NW 53rd Terr.
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 21
RSVP on Facebook

Challenge Workshop – Arcola Lakes Senior Center Banquet Room
8401 NW 14 Ave.
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 25
RSVP on Facebook

Design Thinking Workshop on Public Spaces with Design Thinking Miami
1951 NW 7th Ave.
6:30 to 9:30 p.m. March 20
Register on Eventbrite

The 2017 Public Space Challenge idea submission period will run from March 7 to April 6. Learn more about the Public Space Challenge and past winners on its site.

By The New Tropic Creative Studio
The WhereBy.Us Creative Studio helps clients big and small engage locals, through campaigns that use creative marketing, storytelling, events, and activations to build community, conversation, and impact.