GOOD Ideas for Cities: Creative Solutions for Urban Challenges

The announcement of GOOD Ideas for Cities triggers excitement for me on three different levels because it's a combination of all the things that I dedicate most of my thinking and passion to: media, design and cities.

The new initiative—a combination of events, educational programs, social networking and other toolkits—is a collaboration between GOOD, the online media platform, and CEOs for Cities, a network of urban leaders devoted to improving the social and economic development of cities. It is partly funded through a grant from ArtPlace, a new nationwide public-private partnership to drive urban revitalization through the arts. Using an approach known as "creative placemaking," artists get involved in designing solutions for everything that affects quality of life in cities, from transportation to job creation, as a way to drive economic recovery.

According to ArtPlace:

GOOD Ideas for Cities events will bring together creatives to tackle challenges identified by urban leaders in few new cities and the proposed solutions will be presented to city leaders in front of live audiences, as well as online and in the magazine.  As part of a larger partnership with CEOs for Cities, GOOD will also develop a model for the event that can be locally executed anywhere that designers and civic challenges co-exist.

The idea grew out of a series of events known as GOOD Design, held mainly in New York and San Francisco, that gave designers an opportunity to publicly propose solutions to a wide range of urban problems, like traffic, pollution and even "ugliness." Now, the program hopes to expand to include mid-sized American cities. And there are talks of launching a new website and community idea generator. For now, GOOD Ideas for Cities is gearing up to host two events this fall:

September 19, New York City: "The exciting design competition By the City/For the City gathered over 500 ideas from New Yorkers on how to improve their city . We picked five of the most pressing challenge areas and assigned them to creative teams, who will present their concepts at a live event at the Museum at Eldridge Street."

September 29, San Francisco: "We’re heading back to San Francisco for the Architecture and the City Festival, a month-long celebration of design sponsored by AIA SF. This year’s event will be held at swissnex as the closing party for the festival, where four design teams will present their concepts for challenges sponsored by organizations like San Francisco’s Department of Technology and the Port of San Francisco."

GOOD Ideas for Cities is just one of the 34 local projects—from Honolulu to Miami—awarded a combined $11.5 million in grants, thanks to support from scores of foundations, corporations and federal agencies partnering with ArtPlace.

ArtPlace is currently accepting “Letters of Inquiry from initiatives involving arts organizations, artists, and designers working in partnership with local and national partners to produce a transformative impact on community vibrancy.” Click here to access the online form, due by November 15, 2011.

Follow the collaboration on Twitter at @IdeasforCities.