Articles by Ryan O’Connor

  • Article

    20 Emerging City Champions chosen to lead innovative urban projects

    May 15, 2017 by Ryan O’Connor

    20 Emerging City Champions chosen to lead innovative urban projects

    A 2016 project from fellow Cristina Mas created a vibrant pop-up space in Miami's Brickell neighborhood to help residents envision the transformation possible by The Underline, a planned linear park beneath the city's Metrorail line.

    Ryan O’Connor is interim executive director for 8 80 Cities, a nonprofit dedicated to making cities more livable.

    Twenty creative urbanists will join the 2017 Emerging City Champions fellowship program, an initiative of 8 80 Cities funded by Knight Foundation. Now in its third year, the program empowers young leaders to experiment with new solutions to urgent challenges in their cities.

    Champions will receive $5,000 in funding to implement an innovative project to enhance public spaces, mobility or civic engagement in their city over the next 12 months.

  • Article

    K880 Champions making news

    November 23, 2015 by Ryan O’Connor

    K880 Champions making news

    This article is cross-posted from 8 80 Cities, where Ryan O'Connor is a blogger. Funded by Knight Foundation, the K880 Emerging City Champions program provides young, emerging, and diverse leaders with the opportunity to make immediate and lasting impacts in their communities  Photo above from @DearAkron on Twitter

    Following the waves started at the beginning of the past summer, the K880 Champions are still making news. Beginning in June 2015, each Champion was given one year and $5,000 to transform their neighbourhoods.

    The K880 Emerging City Champions, are an incredible group of young adults from eight different cities in the U.S. who have big ideas to make their communities healthier, happier, and more socially connected. The program is run by 8 80 Cities, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

    On August 29, CORNETTA LANE launched Core City Stories, a biking and walking tour that lets participants learn about neighborhood history by listening to residents' stories. Her first bike tour attracted more than 40 participants. Cornetta's leadership also earned her a spot on a list of 11 "Black Millennials that are helping Detroit make its comeback." Due to strong community response, Cornetta will be hosting monthly bike tours in summer 2016, and several local bike-based businesses have offered to sponsor the project.

    Read more >> Welcome to Core City, right here in Detroit http://www.freep.com/story/news/columnists/rochelle-riley/2015/09/05/core-city-resident-fights-neighborhoods-identity/71707390/

  • Article

    20 urbanists to pursue groundbreaking projects as 2016 Emerging City Champions

    May 9, 2016 by Ryan O’Connor

    20 urbanists to pursue groundbreaking projects as 2016 Emerging City Champions

    Ryan O’Connor is project manager for 8 80 Cities, a nonprofit dedicated to making cities more livable.

    Knight Foundation and 8 80 Cities have selected 20 civic innovators to participate in the 2016 Emerging City Champions fellowship program. The participants will receive $5,000 to implement one project in one year that will improve mobility, public spaces or civic engagement in their home cities.

    Their ideas promise to transform the future in 13 Knight communities: from bringing Bradenton, Florida, its first Open Streets program, to transforming the Grand Cities Mall in Grand Forks, North Dakota, into a more vibrant gathering space, to dressing up the buses in State College, Pennsylvania, in wild costumes that attract public attention and win new fans for the city’s transit system.

    The 2016 Emerging City Champions program builds on the wave of low-cost, high-impact projects already underway or completed by the first group of champions selected in May 2015. The class of 2016 will build on this momentum and amplify their impact.

    Arriving at this moment was no easy task. We received more than 200 applications from 23 cities. Applicants submitted ideas for a project or urban intervention they thought could become the next big thing in mobility, public space or civic engagement. The review panel weighed each application on a simple set of criteria: 1) Will the project enhance mobility, public spaces and civic engagement; 2) Is the idea new and innovative; and 3) Does the applicant demonstrate qualities of an effective community leader? The 20 successful applicants set themselves apart by submitting powerful solutions to crucial civic challenges.

  • Article

    25 civic innovators named K880 Emerging City Champions to build better communities

    May 28, 2015 by Ryan O’Connor

    Photo of Detroit by Flickr user Mike Boening. 

    Ryan O’Connor is project manager for 8 80 Cities, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming cities. Here he writes about the first class of K880 Emerging City Champions, a fellowship program supported by Knight Foundation

    Every city needs champions. Local champions see the potential to create meaningful change if neighbors work together to develop a shared vision for a more livable community. These leaders galvanize support around a collective idea, and catalyze action to make it happen. But sometimes a champion needs a little help to get started. The K880 Emerging City Champions fellowship program can offer that jump-start. Through a competitive application process, 8 80 Cities and Knight Foundation have selected 25 young civic innovators to participate in this new program.

  • Article

    K880 Fellows Make Waves with Innovative Community Projects

    November 10, 2015 by Ryan O’Connor

    K880 Fellows Make Waves with Innovative Community Projects

    Above: People enjoying the Michigan Avenue parklet. Credit: Matthew Hughes. This article is cross-posted from the 8 80 Cities blog.

    For many people, life slows down a bit in the summer months. For the K880 Emerging City Champions, this summer was a time to make things happen. This would come as no surprise to anyone who has met one of these energetic and inspiring go-getters. The Emerging City Champions are an incredible group of young adults from eight different cities in the U.S. who have big ideas to make their communities healthier, happier, and more socially connected. The program is run by 8 80 Cities, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

    Beginning in June 2015, each Champion was given one year and $5,000 to transform their neighbourhoods, so there wasn't much time to waste. Several Champions have already made waves, and grabbed the attention of local media outlets for their efforts. The list below is a collection recent news articles that have come across our radar: CHAD ROCHKIND has compared the experience of crossing the seven lanes of Michigan Avenue to a real-life game of Frogger. In an effort to calm traffic, improve safety, and reclaim road space for pedestrians, Chad and his team installed a 208-square-foot parklet in a parking spot along Michigan Avenue in August. The temporary space was removed after one week, but not before making national news and sparking conversations about improving the public realm in the Corktown neighbourhood. "It was never about the parklet. It was about starting a long-term process for transforming Michigan Avenue," said Chad.

    Reclaiming a Detroit Road, One Parking Space at a Time (photo above).

    ERIN SALAZAR has set an ambitious goal – to cover 40,000 square feet of blank, boring walls in downtown San Jose with vibrant, colourful murals. The organization is also a strong advocate for professional wages for artists working to beautify their city. This summer, the Exhibition District premiered its first wall mural, designed by local artist Mathew Scicluna. The mural "depicts a woman pressing a button that releases colorful cogs and streams, in a nod to the spirit of innovation at the Tech Shop and in Silicon Valley." The Exhibition District's third mural will be unveiled in early October. In other exciting news, the organization is now officially registered as a non-profit charity, which means it's never been easier to support their inspiring work. champs blogpost erin San Jose's Exhibition District Harvests Local Arts Economy