LAWRENCE — More than 400 middle school students from across the Midwest will present futuristic cities along with their innovative waste management systems at this year’s Future City Great Plains Regional Competition, set for Saturday, Jan. 23. The competition will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the University of Kansas School of Engineering LEEP 2 building.
The Kansas Department of Transportation, American Society of Civil Engineers and the KU School of Engineering sponsor the event, which allows students to design and build their own cities demonstrating their solutions to various citywide problems.
“Future City is an alternative approach to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum,” said Kevin Koester, Future City Great Plains regional coordinator. “It is more of a process and project-based approach than learning each individual subject separately.”
This year, students were challenged to develop a new way to deal with the problem of waste management in a city they’ve created. Throughout the fall, teams designed their own city using SimCity software, wrote a 1,500-word description of their city, built a scale model, drafted a project plan and prepared a presentation for the judges at this year’s competition. The judges will grade each presentation based on these categories.
The winner of the Great Plains Regional Competition is invited to Washington, D.C., for the national competition from Feb. 13-15. The winners of the national competition will receive a trip to Space Camp and $7,500 for their school’s STEM program. Second place will win $5,000 for their school. Judges also give several other awards and honors to teams who excel in certain areas of design.
Due to the KU men’s basketball home game against Texas at 1 p.m., Future City participants are asked to follow gameday parking restrictions. Here's a campus parking map with details for gameday parking.
The public is invited to view the students’ models during the day and watch the finalists’ presentations in the afternoon. LEEP 2 is located at 1536 W. 15th St.