Bloomberg Philanthropies to award $9M for urban innovation

Cities are where innovation happens, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows exactly that. As a result, he has announced a new competition that will award $9 million in prize money to cities with bold, innovative ideas that could remake America’s urban centers. More from Next American City:

Twenty finalist teams will be chosen based on their proposal’s novelty and creativity, potential for impact, replicability and implementation plan. The finalists will participate in Bloomberg Ideas Camp, an experience that James Anderson, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ government innovation director, says will give mayors the opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate with their peers in other cities. The finalists will be whittled down to one grand prize winning team, which will receive $5 million; four runners-up will be given $1 million each.

Cincinnati’s urban growth being fueled by young entreprenuers

It is not always easy to fully tell the narrative of a place and its people through words alone. This, I would suspect, is one of the most constant struggles for writers and professional journalists.

Over the past five to seven years, a tremendous amount of progress and change has taken place throughout Cincinnati’s urban core. This progress, however, is not just through bricks and mortar, but also the people who populate those buildings. In fact, those people are the most significant part of the equation. Without their ideas, hard work and passion, none of this would be happening.

Thankfully, Queen City Project has been documenting some of these people and their stories. Their latest video looks at a collection of young entrepreneurs looking to bring their new ideas to Main Street – literally and figuratively.

Cincinnati Growing Cincinnati is a six-and-a-half minute video that breaks down some of these individuals, but also identifies the start-up infrastructure in place that is helping foster their growth and jump start other new ideas with the help of seed money and support networks.

Urban innovators to gather in Cincinnati at CEOs for Cities event

A group of some of the nation’s most innovative urban minds will gather in Cincinnati on May 17 and 18. While here, they will examine the city’s ongoing urban success stories at CEOs for Cities bi-annual meeting titled, “The City as a Startup.” More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

They’ll hear innovators from San Francisco to Songdo, South Korea, share stories of building smarter technology infrastructure, training, attracting and retaining talented young workers and creating a vibrant community of entrepreneurs. The meeting also lets local organizers Eric Avner and David Ginsburg spotlight how far our region has come since the men joined the group in 2004.

Transit guide explains Cincinnati bus riding basics

A good map makes it easy to see what’s important. Highways don’t look the same as local roads on a good street map; similarly, major transit corridors shouldn’t look the same on a map as a bus that only runs twice a day.  Cincinnati activist Nathan Wessel created a map that highlights the most valuable and convenient Metro bus corridors – the transit equivalent of major arterial streets – and separates them from inconvenient and specialized routes.

“These frequent routes are the backbone of Cincinnati’s transit infrastructure, and understanding them is vital to riding the bus without stress,” Wessel explained. “A good transit map not only needs to represent spatial relationships, but show where and WHEN transit exists.”

Click to enlarge (PDF)

One of the biggest challenges of using transit in Cincinnati is understanding it. The new rider is presented with a complicated fare structure as well as a mess of schedules and maps so overwhelming and disjointed that many would-be riders give up. Metro is making strides towards streamlining the system, but in the interim, Wessel’s map makes understanding how the buses work a lot easier.

This map reduces the jumble to a legible system with an easily visible structure of primary, secondary, and tertiary routes that change clearly in both space and time. “The map is laid out so that people who are new to riding the bus can quickly and easily see which route they need to take, and how to do it,” Wessel said.

Long term, the goal is to have the map printed, distributed, and available potential transit riders. For example, the easy to understand transit map could be included in a welcome binder presented to incoming freshmen at UC, or handed to new out-of-town P&G employees looking for a place to live on a bus line. When printed, the map folds into an approximately 3-inch by 3-inch square with downtown routing information and some other important specifics on the back side.

Wessels is still looking to raise funds to make his idea a reality, as well as official acknowledgment from the the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which operates Metro, and the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky.

Hive13 celebrates first year as Cincinnati’s hackerspace

A self-driving remote control car, a refurbished arcade game cabinet, and a MakerBot 3D printer are just a few of the things you may find at the Hive13 hackerspace.  Hive13 is not just a physical location, it has also become a community where hackers, artists, and other creatives come together to share ideas and work on projects they dream up.

In 2009, a group of 20 people began talking about bringing a hackerspace to Cincinnati.  After two months of planning, they moved into a former Camp Washington warehouse and set up shop.  Today, members of Hive13 have 24-hour access to the workspace and a variety of tools to help them with their projects.

Hive13 is still acquiring new tools — like a laser cutter that can pierce wood, plastic, or metal — and working on new projects — like a weather balloon connected to an Android-powered cell phone for communications.

To celebrate their first year of operation, Hive13 is throwing a party on Saturday, July 24 at their hackerspace, located at 2929 Spring Grove Avenue.  Music, refreshments, and games will start around 7pm.  One of the activities, at the party, will be “laser graffiti,” which allows you to virtually graffiti a building using a laser, webcam, and projector.  A silent auction will also be held to raise money for the group.

Follow @Hive13 on Twitter to stay up-to-date, and learn more about the group from this Soapbox Cincinnati video: