Natural disasters— such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes — pose serious threats to cities and citizens. The damage from these events can severely disrupt every aspect of life in an affected region. Especially now, in the wake of recent catastrophic events around the globe, engineers, architects, and city leaders face the critical task of creating resilient cities.
A resilient city adapts to challenges; it has connected systems and infrastructure in place that limit damage and help the city recover. Physical systems such as infrastructure and housing are built to withstand high winds or earthquakes, information systems such as zoning data and maps are designed to support relief efforts, and institutions such as city management or emergency response are developed to help with recovery. A resilient city ensures its residents are safe, their communities are stable and cared for, and the economy remains durable.
With this pressing issue top of mind, the award-winning Future City Competition, now in its 27th year, announces its theme for 2018-19. This year, Future City is asking Indiana middle school students to respond to the issue of Powering Our Future by designing innovative power grids for their future cities that can withstand and quickly recover from the impacts of a natural disaster.
Working in 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. Teams from 40 US regions present their ideas at Regional Competitions in January. The 18th annual Indiana Future City regional final will be held on January 26th at the same location as last year – Purdue University Fort Wayne in Walb Student Union Ballroom. Indiana regional winners then face off at the Finals in Washington, DC in February, where they are joined by a growing roster of international teams, including those from Canada and China.
Carol Dostal, Indiana Future City Regional Coordinator, commented, “Purdue University Fort Wayne is proud to continue its commitment to Future City; a rewarding program that promotes STEM careers and engages multiple additional classroom disciplines including language arts. The College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science will kick off the year by offering a free annual Future City Educator Workshop in September.”
In the US, over 40,000 students, representing 1,350 schools, take part in the Future City® Competition. The deadline to register is October 31, 2018. Register today or learn more at www.futurecity.org.
In 2017, for the third consecutive year, Future City received a prestigious national award for being a leading engineering education program. It was recognized byUS2020 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.
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.