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NEWS
Future City Competition Announces Theme for 2017-2018
September 14, 2017

One of the nation’s leading engineering education programs and among the most popular, Future City, a program of DiscoverE, has received national recognition and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle schoolers to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Long-held assumptions about aging are being radically redefined. Older adults are living longer, staying in the workforce longer and living independently for longer than ever. This population is also growing and altering society’s overall demographics. By 2050, older adults will outnumber children under the age of 14.

In anticipation of this new reality, the World Health Organization (WHO) has outlined a plan to help cities respond to the particular needs of older adults. The organization’s approach recognizes that as people age, they inevitably experience physical and cognitive change and risk isolation and loneliness. Planning for an older demographic means conceptualizing accessible and safe transportation options, barrier-free access to buildings and infrastructure, appropriate social welfare programs and open access to health care support and services.

With this pressing societal issue top of mind, the award-winning Future City Competition, now in its 26th year, announces its theme for 2017-18. This year, Future City is asking middle school students to respond to the issue of The Age-Friendly City and address the challenges in designing innovative solutions that can serve an urban area’s older population. Students are tasked with identifying age-related issues in their city and engineering innovative solutions that enable seniors to remain active and independent.

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 41 US regions present their ideas at Regional Competitions in January. US 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, Egypt and China.

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, 2017.


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