A couple of weeks ago, I took a virtual kayak tour of Biscayne Bay using the MB Rising Above App. The city of Miami Beach has been doing a lot to adapt for climate change and was looking for ways to help people better-understand their neighborhood and the work being done. So, they applied for a Public Space Challenge grant to create the country’s first resiliency virtual tour. Now, anyone can learn anytime, anywhere and in a fun way.

Meanwhile, in Little Havana, there’s a new, quarter-mile stretch of colorful mosaic tiles near the Miami Dade College InterAmerican Campus, where Southwest 27th Avenue and 6th Street meet. MDC students and faculty were looking to inspire more people to walk, connect and discover the neighborhood’s hidden gems. They entered the Challenge and won, and teamed up with residents and local artists to create UrbanaSpace for students, locals and passersby to enjoy.

Two Public Space Challenge winners with two very different ways that are making it easier and more fun for Miamians to get from point A to point B.

As we launch into year seven of the Challenge, that’s what we’re looking for – your best ideas that create, activate or improve the way we move around Miami-Dade County. The Miami Foundation will invest $250,000 in the top ones. Target will contribute funding for winning ideas that encourage thriving and connected communities. Through May 16th, you can submit your ideas at

The details of the Challenge remain the same, except now, we’re zeroing in on a specific theme. The 2019 Challenge is all about reimagining mobility options in Greater Miami. How might we improve the way we get from our home to our public parks, libraries or waterways? What would make it easier, safer or more accessible to get there? The goal is to identify new solutions that create immediate impact for residents and support broader planning efforts. As always, get creative!

Think shading at transit stops like the city of Hialeah did at the Hialeah Market Station, wayfinding signs that make it easier to navigate a place like those Eric Katz and Green Mobility Network added to the Ludlam Trail or art installations that add whimsy like the Active Living Team’s public staircase activation in downtown Miami.

If you’re wondering, “what about parks and public spaces?” Streets and sidewalks are public spaces, too! So are canals and waterways. Imagine how you could make sidewalks more walkable the way Neat Streets Miami did by planting canopy trees at bus stops, or cyclist-friendly like Malone Matson did by placing bike repair stations around the city.

Wishing you had a shaded bike path outside your doorstep? Or an app that made it easier for you to take a ride-share? Or live music on the bus you could jam to? YOU can make it happen. We’ll help you. Enter the Challenge today!

At the end of the day, building a more resilient Miami-Dade is about more than infrastructure, relationships are just as important. That’s why we want you to reimagine what a better-connected community could like. The social ties of a neighborhood – the kind of relationships that are nurtured chatting in the morning at the bus stop or an evening stroll along a well-lit sidewalk – have the potential to move our city forward.

Who can take part?

Anyone can submit ideas: individuals, groups, for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations or government agencies; your project can be for any place in Miami-Dade County.

Why should you get involved?

-You have an idea that would make it easier, safer or more enjoyable for people to get from point A to point B.
-You want to be part of a movement that’s helping to get cars off the road and make way for pedestrians, cyclists and public transportation riders.
-You want to work with and learn from the experts who are moving Miami Dade forward.
-You want to put your talent and skills to use and have an impact on the place you live.

What happens if you win?

The Miami Foundation and our partner Target will provide the funds while local partners, including Urban Impact Lab, will give you the technical support you need to bring your idea to life.

Ready to get started?

– Visit Click the “Add an Idea” button in the bottom left-hand corner. A red pin and a submission form will pop up; move the map and zoom in to where you’d like the pin to land.

– Answer two quick questions:
My idea to improve this place is…
So that people could…

– Hit “Submit” by May 16th, and encourage your friends and social networks to “Like” and “Comment” on your idea. (Pro tip – building excitement ups your chances to win!)

We’ll host a webinar and a series of public workshops together with our friends at Urban Impact Lab throughout Miami-Dade during the Challenge. The kick-off webinar is on Thursday, April 25th at noon; see details to sign up here. Stay tuned for workshop dates.

Ultimately, we want to set up our winners for success by providing them the resources and the community they need to build a better Miami for us all. Let’s get moving, Miami!

Dawn Shirreffs is director of public affairs at The Miami Foundation.

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Challenge winners team up on cool happenings in West Kendall


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