New York Albany

Regional Coordinator: Diane Bertok


City Essay (60 pts)

Each year the program provides an essay topic that challenges students to think like engineers and address a social situation with a futurist technical solution. The team writes an Essay (1500 word maximum) on the assigned engineering related topic. Your City Essay should include a description of the attributes that make your city unique as well as provide a solution to the engineering problem. This year's topic is:

  • Powering Our Future

    Design a resilient power grid for your future city that can withstand and quickly recover from the impacts of a natural disaster.

    Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes, can pose serious threats to cities. While these events rarely last longer than a day or two, the damage can severely disrupt people's daily lives, especially for exposed and vulnerable populations, and dramatically worsen the rebuilding process. Examples of this are the earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan in 2011 and Hurricane Maria's direct hit on Puerto Rico in 2017. Today's engineers, architects, and city leaders face the critical task of creating resilient cities, which is one that can adapt to challenges. It has connected systems and infrastructure in place that limit damage and help the city recover quickly. A resilient city ensures its residents are safe and healthy, their communities are stable and cared for, and the economy of the city is strong and durable.

The maximum word count for the essay is 1500 words. 

Tutorials and educational opportunities for teachers, mentors and students are made available throughout the fall for assistance with the essay requirements and to learn more about issues in designing a city to to be more resilient, specifically its power grid, when impacted by a natural disaster to address the essay topic. Students will cite a minimum of 3 sources of information on their reference page. Click here for the full Essay Question. See this year's rules for a list of all requirements. The Essay submittal date is Friday, December 15th, 2018.

A webinar on this topic will be held on October 3rd, 2018, and will be released by Future City-National and posted on their resources page. 

On October 13th, our regional committee will offer a hands-on learning opportunity at NYISO (10 Krey Blvd., Rensselaer) to discuss the topic of the year (Powering Our Future) in more detail. Details about that event will be forthcoming.

Research Essay Materials

You can find a great deal of materials about the essay topic on National's website. You can find some additional research materials below.