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, public spaces, and green energy. The 2022-2023 theme is Climate Change. Teams identify a climate change impact and design an adaptation and mitigation strategy for their city. 

Participants complete five deliverables: a 1,500-word city essay; a scale model (or multiple model segments) built from recycled materials; a project plan, a presentation and Q&A session with judges. Regional winners represent their region at the international Finals. After completing Future City, student participants are not only prepared to be citizens of today’s complex and technical world, but also 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

Award Recognition

Future City is one of the nation’s leading engineering education programs and has received national recognition and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle schoolers to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

  • Future City was recognized as the Most Innovative Hands-On Program by the US2020 STEM Mentoring Awards.
  • The Future City Competition received the Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction, presented by Turner Construction Company and the National Building Museum. 
  • Future City was named the grand prize winner in the UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) Innovative Education Award program and received a $100,000 award. The ULIEA program highlights the essential, urgent and significant value of E-STEM education.

All About Future City


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.

Need To Know (PBS)


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

Future City in Action


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

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