2018 Future City CompetitionPosted on Friday, February 16th, 2018 by Kristen Kocen
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Robert Ubben and Jason Davis once again 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. The models can be based on actual cities or completely designed from scratch.
Here’s what they had to say about the event.
Of the solutions presented, which ones do you think are the most likely to be implemented in the future?
Jason: Almost every team had autonomous vehicles. Mass transit was in every team we judged. I believe both of these are most likely for implementation in the future.
Robert: The solution of an all-inclusive building for senior citizens that has everything they need in it is very possible, if not already a reality in places throughout the world. The model had a ground floor that had grocery shopping, salons, restaurants, entertainment, emergency responders and more. Living space was on the upper floors. People would get around the large building by choice of walking or using moving walkways.
What was the most innovative idea you saw?
Jason: The most innovative idea I saw was the use of nano-robots that would fight diseases like cancer. They would mend your body from within by repairing or removing the disease.
Robert: I liked the idea of a floating city that one team had. The model was of a coastal community that was prepared to save lives and property by being able to float itself out to sea before major storm events. After the storm event, the town would float back and “dock” where it belonged, having sustained little to no damage.
What kinds of trends did you see in the designs? Were there any common themes?
Jason: Mass transit was a common theme for all teams. There was an emphasis to show that any citizen could reach all areas of their city. The other was medical tracking, like a Vivofit on steroids. The device would track all of your vitals and alert first responders for heart attacks or lack of movement.
Robert: The most common theme I noticed was the ecofriendly use of transportation. Almost every team was concerned with the carbon footprint that current transportation leaves behind. There were several examples of electromagnetic types of transportation.
What surprised you about the ideas presented?
Jason: What surprises me every year is the level of detail and advanced thinking the students put into their projects. Also, the problems they are trying to tackle are same ones we (adults) are working to solve.
Robert: I am always amazed that they dream big, and that those big dreams will probably be reality at some point. Imagination moves the world forward.