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About

The best way to understand the SC2 Challenge is by registering and getting involved. We know that you may have questions. So, we're offering these instructions to clarify what is required of you. The following explanations provide broad guidance, and in some cases, we deliver opportunities to test drive the tools that you and others will use. Our intent is to describe a process of participation that is transparent, open and fair.

However, it is important for you to begin by understanding the Rules that govern this SC2 Challenge. They are an extension of the Terms & Conditions that you accept by using this website. You will have opportunities to meet other participants attempting to solve the same or similar problems, and you are required to conduct yourself appropriately. By entering this SC2 Challenge, you are joining a community of citizens who are all working towards better conditions for the city of Las Vegas.

 

SC2 Initiative

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The Big Picture

The Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative began as a federal program to strengthen local government across the country by helping develop strategies for economic growth. Through a competitive process, select cities, including Las Vegas, receive vital resources to support job creation and improve local conditions. However, for some communities there is no clear pathway to success; here in Las Vegas we need a plan.

We know that effective economic development planning requires fresh thinking, leadership and citizen engagement. That is how the SC2 Challenge was born. Las Vegas and other participating cities are offering cash rewards for winning strategies that deliver local, feasible and innovative solutions. The process of participation is open, fair and transparent – but the cost to compete is entirely yours. Credible judges will score your submission and provide feedback. By participating, you will have the opportunity to meet others who are focused on solving the same challenges, who are accessible through live chat forums, discussion threads and team building exercises. To attract top talent and the brightest minds in land and urban planning and other related fields, the Las Vegas SC2 Challenge offers a total prize pool of $900,000 to the winning teams.

This SC2 Challenge represents a new approach to government. Rather than hiring a single firm to develop a plan, participating Cities are partnering with you. When you form a multidisciplinary team to compete, you bring a new perspective to an entrenched set of problems. For some, this means they will have a voice in planning the future of their own communities. For others, it means they can develop ideas with anyone around the world, a banker in London or a computer scientist in Singapore. Each participant contributes to the pool of ideas, but city leaders only pay for the proposals and plans that meets their specific needs.

For updates and breaking news regarding the SC2 Initiative and this SC2 Challenge, please visit our PRESS page.

 

Start A Team

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To win the competition, you must apply as a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of more than one individual. You must register to participate in the SC2 Challenge. By registering you agree to comply with specific Terms & Conditions and Rules governing each prize competition. Research indicates that prize competitions are more likely to produce results when a wide variety of disciplines are involved, particularly those that are not typically associated with the target problem. In other words, you stand a better chance of winning when you invite team members who do not ordinarily focus their attention on economic planning, but who offer specific experience and rigorous skills that may transfer from one field to another. Start thinking about who you want to invite, who may understand what it takes to deliver a local, feasible and innovative solution for the city of Las Vegas.

Once you have registered, you will develop your own user profile, and you will have the opportunity to "nominate" colleagues to join your team. After you've activated your user profile, you can chat with team members, join discussion threads and find other ways to communicate your needs. One objective of the SC2 Challenge is to foster a strong sense of community so that you are part of a team of solvers, people who are dedicated to competing and collaborating.

To see examples of active communication among the participants, please visit our FORUMS, where you can read about key topics, witness teams answering questions and learn more about what's happening on any given day.

 

Build A Plan

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The SC2 Challenge includes multiple participating cities: Hartford, CT; Greensboro, NC; and Las Vegas, NV. You may only join one team per city (see Rules). While each city requires you to develop a customized solution based on their local needs, all prize competitions use the same framework. Your team will develop concepts that comply with standard templates, and you will be judged by experts using a common scoring tool (see below). As described below, the framework provides you with enough flexibility to develop your most creative and ambitious solutions.

What Las Vegas is Looking For

The city of Las Vegas is soliciting proposals that embody the best creative and innovative ideas or new perspectives in four target areas of our city.  We need a fresh set of eyes to help ignite revitalization. These target areas have faced long-term economic challenges, including Cashman Center, the Las Vegas Medical District, business parks, and Redevelopment Agency projects. Each Proposal/Plan must focus on one of these target areas.

Below you will find a brief description and background of each of the target areas/categories and links to some key information that can serve as a starting point in your research for Proposal/Plan development. This information is not comprehensive and is designed only to be the first step in your analysis. You will find much more detailed information on the city’s website (www.lasvegasnevada.gov) and at the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency website (www.lvrda.org).

Cashman Center

Owner:  Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA)
Location: 850 N. Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV  89101
Opened:  1983
Zoning:  C-V (Civic); the site is in the City of Las Vegas Redevelopment Area

Cashman Center is a 483,000-square-foot, multi-use facility on a 50-acre site in downtown Las Vegas. The facility has a 10,000-seat baseball stadium, 98,100 square feet of exhibit space, 14 meeting rooms, a 1,922 seat theatre, and more than 2,500 parking spaces. The baseball stadium is the current home of the Las Vegas 51s, the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets. Cashman Center’s interior convention space hosts a number of trade shows and exhibits throughout the year as well.

The Cashman Center site offers many benefits, including:

-          50 acres of contiguous land
-          Las Vegas Boulevard frontage
-          Direct access to local and interstate freeways
-          Within the city of Las Vegas Redevelopment Area
-          Close proximity to Las Vegas City Hall
-          Close proximity to other large-scale development projects

Cashman Center is within Redevelopment Area One and is part of the Downtown North Land Use Plan. The facility opened in 1983 and has been the home of Las Vegas Pacific Coast League team from the very beginning. The Summerlin Las Vegas Baseball Club LLC, a venture of the Howard Hughes Corporation and Play Ball Owners Group, purchased the 51s in 2013. The team currently leases Cashman Field from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), however the new owners have discussed building a new stadium in Summerlin.

Cashman Center Site Map:  Download Map
Cashman Center Site Plan:  Download Plan
Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency:  www.lvrda.org
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority: www.lvcva.com

Las Vegas Medical District

The Las Vegas Medical District was established in 1997 and the Las Vegas Medical District Plan was adopted in 2002. The plan has since been updated and was last amended in 2007. The district is centrally located in the Las Vegas Valley and lies within the city’s Redevelopment Area. It is home to Valley Hospital, University Medical Center (UMC), the Southern Nevada Health District, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

The purpose of the Las Vegas Medical District Plan is to provide a complete range of medically-related services. Other compatible and supporting uses are also encouraged within the plan area.

The Las Vegas Medical District Plan is vitally important to our community, because the need for medical services in southern Nevada is great. According to the Brookings Institute, Las Vegas is the largest U.S. metro area without an allopathic medical school. According to a 2011 Brookings-SRI Nevada economic development study, Las Vegas provides less than two-thirds of the medical services that are predicted for a region of its size.

In late 2013, a plan was announced to bring a medical school to UNLV. State university system regents approved starting the planning process for a UNLV medical school in December 2013, although timelines have yet to be established.

It is important to note that Project Neon, the $1.3 billion project to widen Interstate 15 from Sahara Avenue to the Spaghetti Bowl, is approved and will require the acquisition of a number of properties along the interstate – including property within the Las Vegas Medical District. Please refer to the “Current & Proposed Medical District Map” and the Project Neon links below for more information.

Las Vegas Medical District Plan: Download Plan
Current & Proposed Medical District Map: Download Map
Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency: www.lvrda.org
Project Neon: www.ndotprojectneon.com

Business Parks

The city of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency encourage the establishment of business parks both inside and outside the city’s urban core. Traditionally, plans for business parks within the urban core have been difficult to develop, due to the challenge of assembling enough contiguous land for the large footprint required for the use.

The city of Las Vegas has no roadmap for the development of business parks, however city Council members and city staff are open to rezoning and master plan amendments if your team assembles appropriate parcels and/or obtains Letters of Intent from property owners. Additionally, any business park plans located within one of the city’s two redevelopment areas could potentially qualify for Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency incentives and programs.

Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency: www.lvrda.org
City of Las Vegas Planning Department: http://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/Government/planning.htm

Existing Redevelopment Projects

The city of Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency was created in 1986 to tackle blight in downtown Las Vegas.

Now, 28 years later, the city has two designated redevelopment areas. Redevelopment Area One (RDA 1) was created at the inception of the agency. It spans 3,948 acres including downtown Las Vegas east of I-15, south of Washington Avenue, north of Sahara Avenue, and west of Maryland Parkway. It also includes the Charleston Boulevard, Martin L. King Boulevard, and Eastern Avenue corridors. Redevelopment Area Two (RDA 2) was created in August 2012, to help mitigate heavy blight in the area and allow the Redevelopment Agency to provide qualified owners/operators with business incentives. RDA 2 includes Sahara Avenue from I-15 to Decatur Boulevard, Charleston Boulevard from Rancho Drive to Rainbow Boulevard, and Decatur Boulevard from Sahara Avenue to U.S. 95.

The Agency works with developers, property owners, and the community to revitalize the city’s redevelopment areas, create jobs, and breathe life into areas of our community that need a fresh start. 

Please refer to the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency link below for more information on Redevelopment Agency projects, maps, and incentive programs.

Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency: www.lvrda.org


This SC2 Challenge offers two phases of the prize competition:

  • In the first phase, your team will submit one economic development proposal (Proposal) to Las Vegas's Evaluation Panel members. Your Proposal must meet specific criteria and formatting requirements as defined by a specific set of instructions (see below). Once you have submitted your Proposal, staff from the city of Las Vegas will review each one, to determine if it is complete (the Administrative Review). Any Proposals that do not comply with all of the instructions will be determined to be incomplete and will be excluded from the scoring process. 

    Each complete Proposal will include a detailed Project that embodies your strategic approach. The purpose of including a specific Project is to showcase your talent for being concrete and pragmatic; so, you must include budgets, timelines, projected returns on the proposed investment and measurable impact. Think short-term and long-range. Judges from the Evaluation Panel will rank the Proposals, identifying up to three winning teams who will receive cash prizes. Then, a group of finalists (including all three phase one winners) will be invited to participate in the second phase. So, while Las Vegas will provide cash rewards for up to three winners, additional teams may be selected to advance to the second phase.

    In any case, every team that submits a complete Proposal will receive detailed feedback from the judges, to ensure that every effort is rewarded with serious consideration from credible experts.

    Phase One prizes are:

    • 1st place:     $60,000
    • 2nd place:    $30,000
    • 3rd place:     $10,000
  • In the second phase, those finalists will expand upon their Proposals by developing a more comprehensive economic development plan (Plan). Requirements for final Plan submissions include community engagement and other deeper considerations not required in the Proposal writing process (see below). An effective Plan will provide actionable goals and objectives in the context of a deeper analysis of local and regional trends. Plans will focus on requirements that will lead to implementation. A separate Selection Committee will determine the winning teams who will receive the final cash prizes. Finalists will receive detailed feedback after each Plan has been scored.

    Phase Two prizes are:

    • 1st place:     $500,000
    • 2nd place:    $100,000
    • 3rd place:     $  75,000
    • 4th place:     $  50,000
    • 5th place:     $  50,000
    • 6th place:     $  25,000

Here are the directions to submit a Proposal and Plan, and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) has provided a set of tips, to showcase key elements of effective strategies. These documents, both for Phase One and Phase Two, are available to you today, to ensure that you have every opportunity to understand Las Vegas's expectations and to see what is required to deliver the best possible final product:

 

You have the opportunity to spend more than fifteen (15) months focusing on Las Vegas's needs. Here is the detailed timeline with key deadlines and phases, so that you may better coordinate your own time and resources:

You are provided the first eight (8) months to develop your Proposal. However, you must register your team within the first six (6) months. The registration deadline allows prize administrators to calculate the need for any additional judges over the remaining two (2) months, to ensure that everyone will receive sufficient attention and feedback. After the deadline for submitting Proposals, Las Vegas staff will review each Proposal, to ensure that it complies with the instructions before distributing those complete Proposals to members of the Evaluation Panel, who will spend between 1-2 months reading, commenting on and scoring all of the completed Proposals. At the end of that process, the top three (3) teams will be presented to the City Council and will be eligible for cash prizes. Also, each team will have the opportunity to see what the judges had to say about their work. From the top ranking teams, a group of finalists will advance to Phase Two. The city of Las Vegas may determine that the number of finalists will be increased or decreased based on the quality of the Proposals submitted. Finalists will spend five (5) months developing more comprehensive Plans. During that process, members of the Selection Committee may invite the finalists to present their working concepts and can coordinate opportunities to interact with each team (e.g., interviews, presentations, public roundtables, etc.). Following the deadline for submitting Plans, a Selection Committee will spend one (1) month scoring the final results. They will use the same scoring tools as the Evaluation Panel, a copy of which is available here for your review (see below). Once they have determined the top six scoring teams, those finalists will be presented to city council and will be eligible for cash prizes. At the close of the final judging period, up to six winners will be announced.

Any requests for winning teams to participate in one or more awards ceremonies will be scheduled separately.

 

Help A City

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This SC2 Challenge is powered by citizens. Judges have volunteered to review your proposed solutions. Each judge has been handpicked to identify the best possible Proposals and Plans for the city of Las Vegas in this highly prestigious competition.  They have volunteered their time, expertise and talent to help our community. You can learn more about them at:  lasvegas.sc2prize.com/judges.

You will submit your Proposal to the Evaluation Panel for an initial review. If you are invited to participate in the second round, you will submit your full Plan to the Selection Committee for an initial review. In both cases, the scores of the top performing teams will pass to the City Council for final approval. Members of both the Evaluation Panel and Selection Committee will work with prize administrators to ensure that your submission complies with the requirements (see above). Judges will use a common scoring tool to rate your submission. To provide absolute clarity for how judges will consider your submission, you may test drive the scoring tool here.

The purpose of providing you with the scoring tool is to ensure that you can understand the specific instructions and requirements expected of each judge. Again, we want to provide you with complete transparency, so that you can develop your Las Vegas Proposal and Plan to match the scoring criteria. Please spend some time reviewing the Judging Criteria. (LOCAL, FEASIBLE & INNOVATIVE)

JUDGING CRITERION #
1
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LOCAL
(0 - 5)
Does the Proposal/Plan take into account local economic conditions, focusing on existing and potential competitive advantages, in its recommended solutions? Is the Proposal/Plan expected to result in direct economic benefits to the city and its surrounding area? Does the Proposal/Plan identify local assets, economic strengths and weaknesses, and describe how the city can leverage assets and strengths to result in economic benefits?
DISENGAGED
Failed to recognize any unique conditions in the City; recommendations could have applied to anywhere...Paid basic attention to general conditions but not based on any specific City need. Recognized local conditions and demonstrated an understanding of the economic climate.Paid attention to specific City needs and focused on targeted economic issues.Grounded by a detailed understanding of the needs of the City and its people.
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INFORMED
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

JUDGING CRITERION #
2
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FEASIBLE
(0 - 5)
Can the Proposal/Plan yield practical and concrete results in a realistic timeframe that justify the level of required investment, addressing likely obstacles, such as resources available to the city? Does the Proposal/Plan identify economic development strategies that are achievable using existing city resources, or propose ways in which the city can utilize nonexisting/currently unidentified resources to implement these economic development strategies? Does the Proposal/Plan outline a timeline by which the city can develop actionable strategies to implement the ideal contained in the Proposal/Plan?
UNREALISTIC
Misguided by an optimistic understanding of obstacles and underestimated the effort required to deliver results.Addressed basic obstacles to general recommendations but not with specific or realistic tasks.Demonstrated a realistic and efficient level of effort and attention to detail.Addressed specific obstacles with recommendations tied to detailed, measurable and cost effective tasks.Guided by practical and concrete recommendations; considered timing, funding, return on investment and measureable outcomes.
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PRACTICAL
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

JUDGING CRITERION #
3
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INNOVATIVE
(0 - 5)
Is the Proposal/Plan offering a fresh and forward-looking approach that will lead to a clear set of strategically-aligned goals that other economic development initiatives have failed to deliver? Are the ideas and strategies submitted in the Proposal/Plan duplicative of existing plans or strategies being utilized by the city? Does the Proposal/Plan outlay strategies that propose to utilize city resources in more effective and efficient ways to realize the city's economic development goals?
ORDINARY
Promoted style over substance or lacked new and original methods with not enough practical thinking.Raised novel and interesting concepts but failed to tie approach to clear outcomes.Delivered new and different methods with focus on concrete goals and improving outcomes. Raised creative and new ideas that offer a clear roadmap to improved conditions.Introduced ground breaking and advanced thinking that exceeds the promise of any previous approach.
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INSPIRED
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Judges are asked to consider only those submissions with local, feasible and innovative traits. Those labels are clearly defined through a series of questions that each judge is asked to consider, and as they rate your submission they are provided even more specific direction for what defines a particular range of scores for a particular trait. For example, if a judge is considering a score of 3.2 for the trait, Feasible, then he agrees that your proposed solutions… "addressed specific obstacles with recommendations tied to detailed, measurable and cost effective tasks." We hope that by providing you with the common scoring tool, you will consider those definitions when developing your Proposal and Plan.

Each submission will receive five (5) reviews from separately assigned judges. Specific members of the Evaluation Panel, who are assigned to judge your Proposal, will be anonymous, but – if you are invited to the second round – each member of the Selection Committee, who will review each Plan, will be identified. To ensure that every team is treated fairly, the members of the Evaluation Panel assigned to review your Proposal will be randomly selected. Once they are assigned to you, they will designate a score for each trait and provide an explanation for each score. Your team will receive the scores and explanations from each judge at the end of the first round. If you are invited to participate in the second round, then you will receive the scores and explanations assigned to your Plan from each Judge, as well.

We realize that certain teams may realize an advantage if they are randomly assigned five (5) easy Judges, while others may object to judges who are prone to assigning low scores. To account for biases, scores from each Judge are "statistically normalized." Through a mathematical process, we are ensuring that everyone receives fair treatment. To learn more about how the normalization process works, please read our overview here.

Finally, we would like to remind you that Terms & Conditions, governing your use of this website and participation in this SC2 Challenge, stipulate important Rules. By registering, you have agreed to provide an unconditional license for use of any ideas submitted in a Proposal and/or Plan that receives a cash award. While the SC2 Challenge is designed to declare many winners for Las Vegas, it is also designed to ensure that Las Vegas can benefit from a range of ideas. So, while we may ceelebrate a first place winner, it is within our discretion to pursue any of the many Proposals, Projects and Plans that are rewarded at any point. In fact, each winner may help shape a different aspect of our city's future. If you find that others may have exceeded your ranking, please know that your ideas may still have an important impact that is not reflected in the amount of your cash prize.