GOOD Ideas for Cities


Funding Received: 2011
Multiple, Multiple
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
April 9, 2012

Using GOOD magazine and its website as a platform, GOOD Ideas for Cities aims to advance the role that creative problem-solving and civic engagement play in building great communities. 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.

GOOD editor Alissa Walker brings us this update:

March was another busy month for GOOD Ideas for Cities, with an extremely energetic event in St. Louis, Missouri. An incredible 846 people—846!—packed the Contemporary Art Museum on March 8 for presentations by seven creative teams that addressed issues proposed by local civic leaders ranging from tackling racial segregation to increasing light rail ridership to curbing the city's low graduation rate.

There was a lot of buzz around the event—it was covered by two local news channels, featured in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and the subject of an hour-long public radio show. GOOD has posted some beautiful photos of the evening, a video of the entire program, and a group in St. Louis has even created a Facebook page to keep track of all the projects as they move towards implementation. In fact, a follow-up event has already been planned for September 26 during STL Design Week to check in with all the teams. You can see all the challenges and leaders listed here, and view the videos of each presentation as they are published here.

But that's not all. Events for April and May are well underway, with Richmond, Virginia on April 24 and Cincinnati, Ohio planned for on May 16. And GOOD Ideas for Cities recently announced their next two cities: Dallas and New Orleans, with events in June and July, respectively. Keep tabs on their activity at or on Twitter at @IdeasforCities.

Alissa Walker answered some questions from ArtPlace:

Do you have partners on the project?

We have too many partners to count! In addition to the awesome partnership between GOOD and CEOs for Cities that makes this possible, we have partners in each city who help us make these events happen. For our St. Louis event, for example, we had an incredible group of collaborators, like a team from HOK Architects, local public television station Nine Network, the fantastic Contemporary Art Museum, and a whole host of local blogs and magazines who helped get the word out.

What is the toughest thing about collaboration?

It's definitely challenging for us to work with people remotely, and discuss issues in cities that we're not super familiar with. But that is also the great thing about working with these local partners who are so involved in their cities, they really give us the lowdown on what's going on in their communities, and help connect us to the other groups to make these events a success.

What is the most rewarding thing about collaboration?

What we're hearing from people about these events is that we're managing to get the right people in the same room—often, people who haven't traditionally talked to each other before. To us, that's exactly what we're hoping to do with GOOD Ideas for Cities, act as a catalyst in making those connections.

What advice would you give to those having trouble making a collaboration work?

I think you have to look back at the reason you began collaborating in the first place: Hopefully you're working together because you both bring different skills to the table. That can be hard to remember, as you're both working frantically on deadlines, trying to achieve a common goal. But each party has strengths that they should be focusing on, even as you work together. For us, it's really trusting our local partners to help us make big decisions about what these events will look like, even if it's different from what we did in the city we went to before. We have to realize that they know their cities better than we do.