What do students get out of Future City?
What is Future City?
At a glance
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 2019-2020 theme was Clean Water: Tap Into Tomorrow. Teams chose a threat to their city's water supply and designed a resilient system to maintain a reliable supply of clean drinking water. The 2020-2021 theme will be released in mid-July 2020.
Participants complete four deliverables: a 1,500-word city essay; a scale model built from recycled materials; a project plan, and a presentation to judges at Regional Competitions in January. Regional winners represent their region at the Finals in Washington, DC in February. 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
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).
- In 2017, Future City was recognized as the Most Innovative Hands-On Program by the US2020 STEM Mentoring Awards.
- In 2016, the Future City Competition received the Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction, presented by Turner Construction Company and the National Building Museum.
- In 2015, 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.