Future City Competition 2016-2017 announces theme: The Power of Public Spaces

Future City Chicago

The 2016-2017 Future City Competition has announced this year’s theme, “The Power of Public Spaces,” and asks sixth, seventh and eighth graders to envision urban public spaces of tomorrow.

The Chicago Region-State of Illinois competition, part of the nation-wide program, is celebrating its 24th anniversary in 2016-17. This year’s competition asks middle school students to design innovative, multiuse public spaces that serve a city’s diverse population.

The regional competition will be held on Jan. 7, 2017 on the University of Illinois-Chicago campus.

Working in a team with an educator and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) 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. Winners represent their regions at the finals in Washington, DC in February.

The Future City news release says:

Future City Competition poses these questions and more as it public spaces have the capacity to revitalize a city’s economy by introducing new businesses and bringing in new visitors. They can also help reduce crime, ease traffic congestion, improve pedestrian safety, promote healthy living, improve the environment, and enhance civic engagement. A recent study by the UN-Habitat’s Global Urban Observatories Unit found that cities that devoted about 50 percent of their space to public use tended to be more prosperous and have a higher quality of life.

Imagine what it would be like to walk down the main street of a city 100 years in the future.

What would you hear, see, smell, and feel? How would the people who live in your future city describe it? What would make it futuristic and innovative?

The registration deadline for teams and schools is Oct. 31, 2016. For more information see http://futurecity.org/illinois-chicago.

Deborah Hodges, principal/president of Golden Square said her organization is the grant manager, public relations and communications consultant for the regional competition encompassing Chicago, Illinois and western Missouri. More than 50 teams are involved in the Chicago area/Illinois competition, with more than 1,500 teams in the national initiative, she wrote.in an email. “We will be sending out a call for mentors in August.”

Image: The Future City Chicago website.


  1. 2016 pictures:

    2016 Press Release on winners:

    Feel free to share this news with any administrators, middle school teachers//students (6th, 7th , 8th grade) that may have an interest in this program. Maybe your staff have 6th-8th grade students that might want to compete???

    Come see Future Cities as envisioned by some of Chicago’s brightest 6th, 7th + 8th grade students

    Go to: http://www.futurecity.org for the National Program


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