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What is Future City?

What do students get out of Future City?
What do students get out of Future City?
What do students get out of Future City?
What do students get out of Future City?
What do students get out of Future City?
What do students get out of Future City?

At a glance

3 Girls Smiling

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 was the Power of Public Space. Check back on July 15th to find out what the challenge for 2017-2018 will be!

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.

Engineering and so much more

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:

  • Apply math and science concepts to real-world issues
  • Develop writing, public speaking, problem solving, and time management skills
  • Research and propose solutions to engineering challenges
  • Discover different types of engineering and explore careers options
  • Learn how their communities work and become better citizens
  • Develop strong time management and project management skills
  • Experience synergy! 


See video
All About Future City 2:41 YouTube

Meet a Future City team as they embark on this year’s challenge. They’ll provide a brief overview of all of the key components of the program.

See video
Need To Know (PBS) 11:41 YouTube

A group of budding city planners in Detroit competes against students from more affluent suburbs to design the city of the future.

See video
Future City in Action 2:33 YouTube

Bechtel Celebrated DiscoverE #GirlDay2015 with the Future City Competition team at Visitation Academy in Frederick, Md.