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

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    Teaching residents to walk this way…

    Feb. 26, 2015, 9 a.m., Posted by Matt Tomasulo

    Photo courtesy of Walk [Your City].

    Urban designer Matt Tomasulo is the chief instigator and founder of Walk [Your City], which Knight Foundation supports as part of its efforts to invest in innovators who help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement.

    One rainy night in 2012, I hung 27 guerrilla walking signs in downtown Raleigh, N.C., as an experiment: What happens when we show residents how many minutes away on foot neighborhood destinations are in their communities? Three years later, the Walk [Your City] team and I are working to empower pedestrians nationwide with the creation of a “do-it-yourself” walkability toolkit, supported by Knight Foundation.

    How did we get from there to here?

    While in grad school back in 2012, I was studying the barriers to people walking as part of their daily lives. Studies show that the perception of destinations being too far to walk – rather than the reality of distance – was the main barrier. While living in larger cities such as D.C. and Copenhagen, I had noticed that people walked 12 to 18 minutes, multiple times a day, without even thinking about it. Could we influence that perception in other communities in the U.S. that do not have the density of D.C., New York and San Francisco?

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    The scientific and the transcendental in crystals at Esther Klein Gallery

    Feb. 26, 2015, 6:43 a.m., Posted by CSchwartz

    Human beings have had a long and complex history with crystals, but some of these faceted formations dwarf even the timescale of our species. Others, like salt or ice crystals, may take shape so quickly, they practically grow before our eyes. At the Esther Klein Gallery, part of the University...

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    Civic engagement essential to strengthening democracy

    Feb. 25, 2015, 2:24 p.m., Posted by Kelly Born

    Kelly Born is a program officer for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The original version of this post appeared on the Hewlett Foundation blog.

    Even before voter turnout hit a 70-year low in 2014, many of us in the democracy reform field were in conversation about whether and how we might improve voter turnout, and civic engagement writ large. This, in part, is why the Hewlett Foundation recently announced that we will be partnering with Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation on a $3 million challenge to identify how we can better inform voters and increase civic participation before, during and after elections.

    A recent post here on Knight Blog elaborates on the goals of this election-focused Knight News Challenge: “We are looking for innovative ideas ranging from new ways that news media and others can inform voters, to making voting easy, efficient and fair, to converting election participation into longer-term civic engagement, on the local, state or national level.”

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