Thriving Cities Challenge
Fall 2021 • North America
The Salazar Center for North American Conservation at Colorado State University has launched the Thriving Cities Challenge, the second in a series of annual challenges that focus on themes that honor and expand its mission to support the health and connectedness of natural systems and landscapes in North America.
The program seeks innovative proposals that address a wide variety of urban environmental and social challenges. It solicits proposals that are nature based and are unique to a city’s community members, leaders and geography. It is based on the idea that those most effected should lead efforts for change. Some may focus on urban tree canopies, stormwater quality, or access to rivers, but others may focus on new ways to gather and apply data, finance projects, engage residents, or form partnerships. The challenge is looking for out-of-the-box thinking.
Eight teams out of 52 applicants from the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico received implementation awards in late 2021. Seven others were included among finalists. Project proposals from the finalists were diverse, ranging in focus from community gardens, green infrastructure planning and development, a food collective, racial equity, and land conservation, to more shady bus stops.
Blackstone Ranch Institute was one of the first to pledge financial support. The Center was able to use that early commitment to raise funding from other funders.