Local middle school engineering competition kicks off with public spaces theme

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?
 
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2016-17, this year’s Future City Competition poses these questions and more as it asks middle school students to address The Power of Public Space and challenges them to design innovative, multiuse public spaces that serves a city’s diverse population.
 
Working in a team with an educator and STEM mentor,¬†students present their vision of the future through a virtual city design (usingSimCity‚ĄĘ¬†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.¬†Teams from 38 regions present their ideas at Regional Competitions in January.¬†The Michigan regional competition will take at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi in January 2017.¬†Winners represent their regions at the Finals in Washington, DC in February.¬†
 
Over¬†40,000¬†students, representing¬†1,350¬†schools, take part in the Future City¬ģ¬†Competition. The deadline to register is October 31, 2016.¬†¬†Register today or learn more at¬†www.futurecity.org. Visit our¬†Facebook¬†page for more information and updates on the Future City¬ģCompetition.
 
Future City was honored in 2015 as the grand prize winner of a $100,000 award in the UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) Innovative Education Award program (ULIEA).  Developed in collaboration with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), the UL Innovative Education Award  is open to nonprofits that motivate K-12 schools about science research through E-STEM programming and education about the environment.
 
Future City has ongoing opportunities for engineering and technical professionals to volunteer in a number of different roles, including mentors and regional coordinators. For information about Future City or to volunteer, visit www.futurecity.org.
 
Major funding for Future City comes from the Bechtel Corporation, Bentley Systems, Inc, and the Shell Oil Company.
 
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DiscoverE is leading a growing volunteer movement that inspires and informs present and future generations to discover engineering. Our 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 www.discovere.org.