2017 Future City CompetitionPosted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 by Peggy Amor
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A few weeks ago, Robert Ubben and Jason Davis judged entries at the Great Plains Regional Future City Competition. At this event, small groups of middle-school students design and build cities with their ideas of how to make the world a better place.
Students work together to develop solutions that are presented via a virtual city design (using SimCity); a 1,500-word essay; a scale model; a project plan, and a presentation. This year’s theme centered around public places. The models can be based on actual cities or completely designed from scratch.
Here’s what they had to say about the event.
What surprised you?
Jason: I’ve judged the competition before, but this year, was struck by the level of detail. In one case, a team made sure their city was ADA compliant. I was impressed with the thought that went into the entries.
Robert: This was my first year attending and judging the competition. I was surprised that some of the innovative ideas could become a reality one day. For example, one group had included a machine, located on the water that would check fish for toxicity. The results would then be used to determine if the water and fish were safe for consumption. I thought it was such an interesting way to test for water quality. One team even included air space for drones.
Were there any new or interesting solutions that stood out?
Jason: One city had a huge hydroponic center that grew food for the entire population.
Robert: There were really quite a few. One team had added a huge air scrubber that was located inside a domed area with a power plant. It took the dirty air, cleaned it, and then, pumped in back into a park. Another had a monorail that was completely see-through, offering riders views of the whole city.
There were also a number of cities where everything was within walking distance. For example, workplaces, living spaces and grocery stores were all located in the same area, so people didn’t need to have a vehicle.
Jason: The kids really get the problems we’re facing and had some great solutions for them. I enjoy seeing their fresh perspective every year when judging for our Making Life Easier award.