Illinois (Chicago)

Regional Coordinator: Don Wittmer, P.E.

Future City Competition – 2016-2017 Announces Theme – The Power of Public Spaces and Call for Mentors

Chicago – The State of Illinois Future City Competition is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2016-17. This year’s Future City Competition asks middle school students to address The Power of Public Space and challenges them to design innovative, multiuse public spaces that serve a city’s diverse population. The regional competition will be held on Sat., Jan. 7, 2017 on the University of Illinois-Chicago campus. Mentors are needed for teams as they prepare for the competition.


Public spaces have the capacity to revitalize a city’s economy by introducing new businesses and bringing in new visitors.  They can also help reduce crime, ease traffic congestion, improve pedestrian safety, promote healthy living, improve the environment, and enhance civic engagement. A recent study by the UN-Habitat’s Global Urban Observatories Unit found that cities that devoted about 50% of their space to public use tended to be more prosperous and have a higher quality of life.


Imagine what it would be like to walk down the main street of a city 100 years in the future. What would you hear, see, smell, and feel? How would the people who live in your future city describe it? What would make it futuristic and innovative?


Working in a team with an educator and STEM mentor, students present their vision of the future through a virtual city design (using SimCity™ software); a 1,500 word city essay; a scale model of their city (built with recycled materials); and in a short presentation to a panel of STEM professionals. Winners represent their regions at the Finals in Washington, DC in February. 


The deadline for teams and schools to register is Oct. 31, 2016.


Mentors are needed for teams from September 2016 through January 2017. Mentors act as coaches and guide the team through the process and assist in critical thinking.


Register as a school or learn more about becoming a mentor at


Major funding for Future City comes from the Bechtel Corporation, Bentley Systems, Inc, and the Shell Oil Company. We are honored with regional funding from engineering firms and associations from HNTB, Golden Square, and many others. For sponsorship information, please contact Matt Miller, P.E. at


About DiscoverE

DiscoverE is leading a growing network of volunteers in the US and abroad is drawn from the DiscoverE coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies. Together we meet a vital need: introducing students, parents, and educators to engineering, engaging them in hands-on engineering experiences and making science and math relevant. For more information, visit

Future City® State of Illinois


The State of Illinois Future City Competition® is celebrating its 24rd year as a regional group in the national competition. The regional competition is comprised of teams, schools, and professionals from Illinois and nearby Missouri. In addition to the actual competition, Annual Chicago Engineers Benefit Dinner showcases the top local teams and award winners. For more information visit our website here or go to


For more information contact:

Future City® Regional Coordinator

Don Wittmer, P.E., HNTB


Future City®Regional Committee

Matthew Miller, P.E., HNTB


Future City® Grant Manager, Media and Communications

Deborah J. Hodges, M.A. Golden Square

312 675-6080