Future City Competition

Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 by
In Community, Transportation Engineering, tagged in
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Walking into Fiedler Hall on the Kansas State University campus this January, I was surprised by the energy in the atrium. I had never been to Future City, a science and engineering competition, but after just a few minutes, I quickly discovered how seriously the 60 teams of middle-schoolers from around the region take this event.

At Future City, small groups of students design and build cities that represent their vision of the future. The students plan their cities using SimCity 4. They create a 3D scale model of a portion of their city and then, research and write a solution to a specific civil engineering problem in their city. After preparing throughout the fall semester, they present their project to a group of real-world engineers.

Affinis is always searching for ways to support the growth of engineering and science in young minds, and we were proud to sponsor the “Making Life Easier” award at this years’ competition. As a traffic engineer, I’ve seen how having a variety of transportation modes that interact well with one another can improve citizens’ lives. I used this as my judging criteria, which proved to be a difficult task, as many groups had great models.

The 3D model city that won the “Making Life Easier” award was Tooutay, built by students from Indian Woods Middle School. Tooutay contained roads, bridges and railroads all displayed in a unique way. Bridges were constructed for both the railroad line and the roadway using recycled goods. The modes also crossed each other using an at-grade crossing with correct signals and pavement markings. This level of detail with this model made a lasting impression on me.

The Future City Competition exceeded my expectations. This program gives students a real-world look at civil engineering. I had a great time exploring all the amazing models and seeing how excited the students were to share their ideas and what they had learned.

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