Future City 2009: More Successful than Ever

Conserving Our Valuable Natural Resources

For the 12th consecutive year Polytechnic Institute of NYU served as host to the Metropolitan Regional Finals of the Future City Competition. The finals were held on Saturday, January 24, 2009, and were conducted under the guidance of NYU-Poly’s David Packard Center for Technology and Educational Alliances and the Metropolitan Section, American Society of Civil Engineers. A major sponsor of these Regional Finals was the Consolidated Edison Company.

Forty-three teams of talented seventh and eighth grade students from twenty-one (21) schools in New York City, Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey gathered in Polytechnic’s gymnasium to exhibit models of futuristic communities which they had developed during five intensive months of research and planning. This year, 40 regions, involving approximately 30,000 students in over a thousand schools, participated nationally.  Future Cities is sponsored in part by the National Engineers Week Foundation, a consortium of more than 100 professional and technical societies and major corporations. It is the largest and most successful education program of its kind.

Future City, now in its 17th year, requires middle school students to create a city-of-the-future, first on a computer and then as a three-dimensional tabletop model.  Working in three-member teams, supported by a teacher and a mentor-engineer, students create their cities using the SimCity 4 Deluxe software donated to all participating schools by Electronic Arts, Inc. of Redwood City, California.  Students also write a city abstract and an essay on using engineering to solve an important social need.  This year the essay centered on ways to improve water use by creating a home system that minimizes the use of municipal or externally supplied water for its daily requirements.

This year's theme asked students to explore what can be done to conserve and reuse our valuable resource of water as our cities grow and expand. Students used engineering principles to design and build cities of the future with a focus on self-sufficient water systems. The teams presented and defended their cities-of-the-future before judges, consisting of engineers and professors of engineering, at the event.

At the NYU-Poly event students competed for scholarship and prizes. Winning teams from qualifying regional competitions receive an all-expense-paid trip to the Future City National Finals in Washington, D.C., February 16-18, 2009 during Engineers Week.  The national grand prize is a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Polytechnic Institute of NYU provides each student on the FIRST PLACE team with an annual scholarship of $5000, pending his/her acceptance and enrollment at Poly.  Each member of the SECOND and THIRD PLACE teams receives an annual scholarship of $2000 and $1000 respectively, upon his/her enrollment at NYU-Poly. This year the first place prize went to Oakland New Jersey’s Valley Middle School’s team Xi Wang Zhi Cheng, The City of Hope.