Knight Blog

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

Josh McManus, tapping into the innate ambition of Akron, Ohio

July 29, 2014, 8:18 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Josh McManus joined Knight Foundation this week as Akron program director, Below, Carol Coletta, vice president for community and national initiatives, interviews McManus about his extensive work with placemaking and other nonprofits, and his hopes for his work in Akron.

Carol Coletta: You are from Chattanooga, Tenn.  You have a summer home in Maine. You have worked extensively in Detroit, another Knight city. What have you learned from each of those places?

Josh McManus: Chattanooga taught me that individuals who give a damn and act accordingly make cities change. In the 1970s a small group of people from many backgrounds dug their heels in and refused to accept a fate of decline for their city. I’ve had the privilege to learn from them and that informs the work that I do every day. Maine keeps my eyes fresh to the work that I do. My heroes, ranging from Bucky Fuller to Thomas Edison to Frank Lloyd Wright, all understood that distance can help draw clarity and that communing with Mother Nature is a necessary balance to the nonstop energy of urbanity. Detroit has taught me how creative destruction can actually liberate systems within cities and spur unexpected answers to pressing problems.

NPR One, now available at your preferred app store

July 28, 2014, 4:54 p.m., Posted by Emma Carrasco / NPR

This article is cross-posted with permission from

NPR One is our new digital listening app that blends NPR and Member Station news reporting into a rich, localized, on-demand experience. We have been working on this new audio news app for iOS and Android for some time, and now it's your turn to download it and experience public radio made personal.

Listen to the latest local, national and international news in a curated stream customized for you. With NPR One you're in control: you can pause, skip or spend more time with the news and entertaining stories that you might have otherwise missed. NPR One remembers your history as you go, so you'll never hear the same story twice. Search for shows and podcasts, review your listening history or look ahead at upcoming stories.

Civic leaders in Charlotte, N.C., share ideas on role of public space

July 28, 2014, 4 p.m., Posted by Susan Patterson

Charlotte skyline by James Willamor

Photo: Charlotte skyline as seen from Romare Bearden Park on S. Church Street. Credit: James Willamor on Flickr.

"Thanks for inviting me to explore a big idea," said one Charlotte participant, as she left our “city sounding” session with the Municipal Art Society of New York recently.

Knight Foundation is supporting a yearlong exploration about the critical role that civic spaces play in city life, and Charlotte is one of the places where community leaders are sharing thoughts and ideas via these city-sounding sessions.

Earlier this month, more than 30 people gathered in the sunny solarium of Foundation for the Carolinas for the interactive session. It involved role-plays forcing us into new perspectives and scenarios to stretch our thinking about what civic assets might look like in the future.