Athens, OH 19 January 2016 –
This past weekend I had to opportunity to spend time in Columbus, judging students from around the state of Ohio in the Future City competition. The competition requires middle school students to create a virtual city model based upon technologies they believe to be possible in 50 years. Using their virtual model participants then implemented a 3D physical ‘splice’ of their city.
When designing their city, participants have to meet certain requirements, such as zero waste, high recyclability, and clear distinct city zones (Industrial, residential.)
My role at the event was to judge model presentations. The model presentations required each team to prepare a 5-7 minute speech that addressed the year’s theme: “Waste not, want not.” During the speech, participants described what they learned about the engineering design and implementation process.
On top of this, I got to see what these younger children believed the technologies of the future would be like. The most trending technology was pneumatic tubes running from every house which would automatically sort trash when sent through the tubes.
Some of the most interesting innovations were those that leveraged current technology in new ways. Many cities developed vertical farms in residential skyscrapers to conserve space while also creating a group gardening area to foster community.
The future cities competition allowed me to see what younger minds are interested in; the extent to which they’ll dedicate their time and energy to completing something they care about.