The Future of our cities in students’ hands

On Saturday, Jan. 28, middle school students competing in the 15th Future City Competition in Arizona will bring their finished models to be judged, hoping to move on to the national competition in Washington, D.C. during National Engineers Week.


The Navajo Generating Station is a coal-fired plant outfitted with millions of dollars of technology to clean its emissions. Future City challenges students to find solutions to our electrical needs while conserving resources and protecting the environment. Photo: Alex E. Proimos,

The Future City website says the competition “encourages middle school students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by presenting a set of technical challenges over a four-month season that each three-student team must address, culminating at regional finals in January.”

The technical challenge this year is to “choose one alternative energy source and design a way to generate electric power for your city that does not deplete natural resources and has limited impact on the environment.” No easy task when our gadget-centric lifestyle demands constant, inexpensive electricity.

The three-student teams work with a volunteer engineer who guides them through the process, which includes a research paper and the city model. The competition is open all middle school students through their schools. The Future City Arizona website has resources for students and teachers as well as the volunteer engineers necessary for the project.


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