How Does
Future City Work?

Future City is an educational engineering experience and there are also awesome prizes that teams can win!

Throughout the fall, participants work in teams of at least three students, an educator, and volunteer mentor to bring their vision of their future city to life.

They will imagine what it’s like to walk down the main street of a city 100 years in the future. What do they see, hear, smell, and feel? From this starting point, they will design a futuristic city with innovative solutions to some of today’s most pressing sustainability issues.

As the middle school students create their cities, they will:

  • Use the engineering design process and project management steps to take on a large-scale project;
  • Apply their math and science knowledge to a real-world problem;
  • Strengthen their teamwork and problem-solving skills;
  • And more!

Created for middle schoolers in or out of the classroom, Future City combines the engineer design process (EDP)  with project management to imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future.

Competition Deliverables

Imagine, research, design and build!



City Essay

Teams describe the unique attributes of their city and their solution to the annual challenge (1,500-word max.)  

View samples »



City Model

Teams build a physical model of their city (in one piece or multiple segments) using recycled materials and include one moving part.

View Photo Gallery >>



Presentation / Q&A

Teams have seven minutes to present their city’s futuristic innovations. Teams then answer questions for a panel of STEM professionals.



Project Plan

Teams develop and use a project plan to help them stay organized and focused.

How to Get Started

Register for Future City (Three Options)

Three Registration Options

Resources Only

Get free access to Future City’s full suite of resources.

Partial Competition

Great for first-time teams, see what Future City is all about while only completing one or two deliverables. Eligible for some special awards in certain regions.

Full Competition

Complete all five deliverables and fully compete in regionals. Eligible for special awards and prizes. Regional winners compete in the Finals in Washington, DC.  Transportation, hotel, and some meals are covered for the five official team members.

Register Now
Log into the Competition Management System
  • Review the Future City Handbook and Educator Dashboard
  • Select Activities
  • Recruit Volunteers
Build Your Team(s)
  • Recruit kids
  • Register teams in Educator Dashboard
  • Complete Forms
Connect with a Mentor
  • Encourage a STEM professional that you know to register to be your Mentor or request help finding one when you register.
Get to work!
  • Participants review Student portion of handbook
  • Develop plan & schedule
  • Gather Materials
Build Cities
  • Complete Future City program deliverables – By January 5!
Practice and Prepare for Regional Competition (optional) and HAVE FUN!!

What’s needed?

Dedicated Program Facilitator

Ability to meet once a week for 2 to 3 hours

Internet access for research

Access to LOTS of different kinds of recycled materials

A place to build and get messy

$25.00 Registration Fee (per organization)

Up to $100 budget for model and presentation materials (most teams do not spend full amount)

Minimum of three middle schoolers (no team size limit)

Important Dates at a Glance

Regional Competitions take place in January each year. Then the winning teams from our now 40 regions & China travel to Washington DC for the National Competition in February.

MayEducator/ Program Leader Registration opens
AugustFuture City Handbook released / Mentor Registration opens
SeptemberFuture City Teams kick off their projects
  • Research, design, build
  • Judge Registration opens
  • Educator/Program Leader Registration closes
JanuaryPresent at your City - Regional Competitions
FebruaryNational Competition in Washington, DC

Other Competition Take Aways and Benefits

Teams that win their Regional Competition advance to Finals (in Washington, DC). Future City provides round-trip transportation and hotel accommodations for the US team’s three student presenters, educator, and mentor. Learn more about awards and prizes at Future City Finals here

Future City T-shirt

Prizes and Awards

National Recognition

Trip to Washington, DC