Future City Competition

Students work in teams and with their teacher and a STEM mentor to complete five required deliverables before they face off at a regional competition against other teams and other schools. Regional competitions take place in January each year and the winners of each regional competition qualify for an opportunity to participate in an international competition that takes place in Washington, DC, each February.

Impact and reach 

The Future City Competition engages more than 45,000 middle school students internationally each year throughout the United States and abroad. In Canada, 4,500 students participate each year from across the country. Students repeatedly report that the program increases their motivation and excitement about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). In addition, students and teachers report a marked improvement in students’ 21st Century skills. 

In Canada, over the last three years, student and educator feedback told us that:  

future city

 The majority of educators saw increases in students’ writing and research abilities, problem-solving skills, teamwork, and public speaking capabilities and project management skills. They also indicated that students feel like they have a much better idea of what engineers do and what’s involved with the engineering design process.

Award recognition 

The Future City Competition is one of the leading engineering education programs and has received national recognition and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle schoolers to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

  • In 2017, Future City was recognized as the Most Innovative Hands-On Program by the US2020 STEM Mentoring Awards. 
  • In 2016, the Future City Competition received the Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction, presented by Turner Construction Company and the National Building Museum.  
  • In 2015, Future City was named the grand prize winner in the UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) Innovative Education Award program and received a $100,000 award. The ULIEA program highlights the essential, urgent and significant value of E-STEM education. 

What to expect 

Future City uses the engineering design process as a framework to guide students through the creation of their cities. This structure gives students a real-world learning experience they can apply to future challenges in school, work, and life. 

As part of the process, participants complete five deliverables: 

  • A 1,500-word city essay 
  • A scale model built from recycled materials 
  • A project plan 
  • A presentation video 
  • A  Q&A session with judges 

Learn more about the competition and the resources available to you through our partner DiscoverE.

Supporting you and your students 

Through our partnership with DiscoverE, students and teachers are provided with the following supports:

  • Teacher handbook with lessons, activities and rubrics
  • Monthly webinars to support educators through the five deliverables
  • Access to past projects and videos to support the creation of each component of the competition
  • Access to a regional coordinator to support you and your students in securing STEM mentors and organization of the regional competition

Learn more about DiscoverE and all the ways you can participate in Future City Competition here