Future City starts with a question—how can we make the world a better place? To answer it, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. Past topics include stormwater management, urban agriculture, and green energy. The 2016-2017 topic is the Power of Public Space.
Students present their solutions via a virtual city design (using SimCity); a 1,500-word city essay; a scale model; a project plan, and a presentation to judges at Regional Competitions in January. Regional winners represent their region at the National Finals in Washington, DC in February. After the competition is over, student participants are not only prepared to be citizens of today’s complex and technical world, they are poised to become the drivers of tomorrow.
This flexible, cross-curricular educational program gives students an opportunity to do the things that engineers do—identify problems; brainstorm ideas; design solutions; test, retest and build; and share their results. This process is called the engineering design process. With this at its center, Future City is an engaging way to build students’ 21st century skills. Students participating in Future City: