In Las Vegas, the concept of awarding significant cash prizes for innovative and effective economic development solutions makes sense. The city recently launched its Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge to do just that: tap the global design, architecture, land planning, and economic development community for the best economic development ideas.
Federally funded by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, SC2 is an international prize competition awarded in 2012 to three U.S. cities: Las Vegas; Greensboro, N.C.; and Hartford, Conn.
In Las Vegas, the competition can award up to $900,000 in prizes for transformational economic development plans to help revitalize four targeted areas within the city: Cashman Center, the Las Vegas Medical District, business parks and existing Redevelopment projects.
"Participating in the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Challenge is exciting for our city,” said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman. “Las Vegas is known for its big, larger-than-life personality, so seeking big, out-of-the-box ideas is right in sync with our culture. We consider it a privilege to tap into the best and brightest minds globally and look forward to receiving some exciting, dynamic and innovative plans that will help specific areas of our city thrive and grow.”
The city is reaching far and wide to solicit the most qualified multidisciplinary teams in the fields of land planning, urban design, and other related fields to participate in this SC2 Challenge. The list of potential candidates includes leading professional firms as well as student teams from universities locally, regionally, and globally.
Winning plans must match Las Vegas’s needs, offer a feasible roadmap toward implementation, and represent innovative perspectives on economic development. The competition is divided into two phases.
During phase one, multidisciplinary teams submit economic vision proposals to the city for one of the four target areas. The top three proposals, as scored by members of an independent evaluation panel, will be submitted to the Las Vegas City Council to approve the receipt of cash prizes of $60,000 (1st place), $30,000 (2nd place), and $10,000 (3rd place), respectively. They and any other selected finalists will advance to phase two.
In phase two, finalists’ ideas will be expanded into comprehensive economic development plans for formal presentation and review by an esteemed panel of independent judges. Winners may receive cash prizes totaling up to $800,000 with a grand prize of $500,000.
Deadline to register for the Las Vegas SC2 Challenge is July 24. Phase one winners will be announced in November 2014, and phase two winners will be selected in May 2015.