We turn on the faucet and clean water flows. Most of us don’t give it much thought. But for civil engineers, urban planners, developers, and other professionals, maintaining a reliable water supply takes expertise, planning and constant vigilance. A water-resilient city must be prepared to address a wide range of risks, including drought, flooding, population change, natural and manmade disasters and economic recession.
With this pressing issue top of mind, the Future City Competition, now in its 28th year, announces Clean Water: Tap Into Tomorrow, the 2019-20 theme for its award-winning, project based learning experience for middle schoolers.
According to current estimates, two billion people worldwide – 25% of the world’s population – currently don’t have access to clean water. And that number is expected to double. By 2025, it is predicted that as many as four billion of the Earth’s citizens will be living in water-stressed areas. In a recent survey commissioned on behalf of DiscoverE’s Global Day of the Engineer, engineers in the United States and abroad cited ‘access to clean water’ as the top global challenge they will face over the next 25 years.
During this coming school year, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from across the country and abroad will be asked to identify an urban water system threat and then imagine, research, design and build a futuristic solution to ensure a reliable supply of clean drinking water.
Working as 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. Keeping the engineering design process and project management front and center, students are asked to address an authentic, real-world question: How can we make the world a better place?
In the US, over 40,000 students, representing 1,500 schools and 39 regions, take part in the Future City® Competition. Teams present their ideas at Regional Competitions in January. US regional winners then face off at the Future City Finals, where they are joined by a growing roster of international teams, including those from Canada and China. The Tampa Bay regional final will be held on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, in Saint Petersburg. The Tampa regional winners then face off at the Finals in Washington, DC from February 15-19, 2020, during Engineers Week. The exciting competition culminates with one team taking home the grand prize of a trip to U.S. Space Camp and $7,500 for their school’s STEM program (provided by Finals sponsor Bentley Systems).
The Future City Competition has been recognized with numerous prestigious national awards as a leading engineering education program. In 2017-18, Future City was honored by US2020 and co-founding sponsors, Chevron and Tata Consultancy Services, for its achievements and innovations in STEM education and its accessibility to underrepresented youth.
In 2016, the Future City Competition received the 2016 Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction, presented by Turner Construction Company and the National Building Museum.
In 2015, Future City was named the grand prize winner in the UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) Innovative Education Award program, receiving a $100,000 award. The UL award highlights the essential, urgent and significant value of E-STEM education.
The deadline to register for this year’s Future City Competition is October 31, 2019. Register today or learn more at www.futurecity.org. Visit our Facebook page for more information and updates on the Future City® Competition.
Future City has ongoing opportunities for engineering and technical professionals to volunteer in a number of different roles, including team mentors and regional coordinators. For more information about Future City and volunteer opportunities, visit www.futurecity.org.
Major funding for Future City comes from the Bechtel Corporation, Bentley Systems, Inc, NCEES, Shell Oil Company, and DiscoverE. Additional program support provided by EA and UL.
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.