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Texas (Houston)
Regional Coordinator: Dr. Zafar Taqvi


BUILD CITY MODEL - 70 points

DO STAGE of the project

Face-to-Face Judging at the Competition, Jan. 21, 2017

See Gallery to view examples of other City Models

Engineers, architects, scientists, and city planners all use models to help them communicate their ideas, share their research, and predict the success of their design. Emphasize that the ideas represented in their City Model should be in alignment with their City Essay and reflect what they learned as they designed their virtual city. Students must decide upon an area of their city that will best showcase their solution to this year’s challenge as well as the overall vision that they have for their city. They should think carefully about their city design and the placement of specific structures.

Build Model

The team will build a scale model of a section of the city. (Please note that it would be impossible to build a model of the entire city, since the SimCityTM printout represents approximately 10 square miles.) The purpose of the model is to give a 3-D view of how one section of the future city would look. Typically, teams spend an average of 40 to 60 hours on building their model.

The team will decide what materials to use to construct the model, such as Styrofoam, balsa wood, cardboard, clay or toothpicks.  They have to be inventive because of the cost limitations so that items such as soda bottles, L'eggs containers, candy boxes, empty cans and a variety of materials find their way into the models. [See Handbook for specs and instructions 27–28, 40].

City Model Requirements

  • The model must contain at least one moving part, such as a transportation or communications component. If a power source is used, the power must be self-contained.
  • The Computer City Map representing the future city (created with the SimCity software) will be on display with the model.
  • Must be built to scale as determined by the team. 
  • Must be no bigger than 25” (W) x 50” (L) x 20” (H) including all support braces, material hanging below or beyond the tabletop, and any fully extended parts, such as access doors or hinged pullouts.
  • Vertical-oriented models are not accepted. 
  • Must contain one or more moving part(s). Any electrical power must be self-contained (e.g., a household battery and a simple circuit). 
  • Use of electrical floor or wall outlets is not allowed. 
  • No live animals, perishable items or hazardous items (e.g., dry ice) may be used in the model. 
  • No audio or sound may be used as part of the model. 
  • Although a small number of individual pieces from previous competition models may be reused, models must be a new representation of a future city and built from the baseboard up.
  • The total value of the materials used in the model, as well as those used in support of the presentation and special awards, (including color copying/printing, 3D printing, visual aids, costumes, and other demonstration aids) may not exceed $100 (cash or in-kind) and must be reported on the Competition Expense form. Materials should be recycled as much as possible.
  • A completed City Model Identification Index Card must be submitted and visible anywhere on the model. This 4"x6" index card is used by the judges to identify your team's information. The card should include: City name (must be same as the team name), Scale used for the model, Name of school/organization, and Names of the three presenting students, educator, and mentor.

For more on the City Model, download the Program Handbook from the Resources section.