News / Science & Technology

Schoolchildren Design Cities of the Future

Schoolchildren Design Cities of the Futurei
X
February 24, 2014 2:40 PM
What will the cities of the future look like? That was the challenge addressed by 40,000 middle school students from 1,350 schools across the U.S., in an annual competition to design the urban landscape of tomorrow. Thirty-seven teams made the finals and traveled to Washington D.C. to defend their ideas before the judges. Steve Baragona narrates for VOA’s George Putic.
George Putic
What will the cities of the future look like?

That was the challenge addressed by 40,000 middle school students from 1,350 schools across the U.S. in an annual competition to design the urban landscape of tomorrow. Thirty-seven teams made the finals and traveled to Washington, D.C., to defend their ideas before the judges at the Future City competition.

The annual contest aims to direct young people toward careers in science and technology. It is sponsored by a consortium of professional and technical societies and some major U.S. corporations.

The students built tabletop scale models of their designs using recycled materials, costing no more than $100. The teams also had to write essays about their solutions, explain their ideas to the crowd and answer the questions asked by a six-member expert panel.

Urban transportation

Gregory Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems Incorporated, one of the competition's major sponsors, said this year’s theme was ‘urban transportation’ -- an increasingly important issue for the world's cities.

“We sort of have the first generation, I think now, in the United States, who are not committed to having a car to be a part of their life,” said Bentley.

Eighth-graders from the southern state of Georgia -- David Straub, Katherine Barri and Rebecca North -- envisioned their city far into the future.

Straub said they predicted that public transport would be effortless and eco-friendly.

“It’s a new system that focuses, has a focus on magnetic frequency, which will allow people to levitate and float along the magnetic fields,” he said.

Young teens compete

Laila Mirza, Oha Hassan and Mousa Seid from Houston, Texas, imagined a city in Brazil in 2084, with transport relying on electric cars.

“These garages have photovoltaic cells and whenever our cars are parked over here, they get their energy to drive later on," said Mirza.

Bentley said the Future City competition, now in its 22nd year, is deliberately focused on young teens.

“Because at that age in the United States, they have to elect the math courses, the advanced math courses. If they don’t at that age, they will never be an engineer,” he said.

The grand prize of $7,500 went to St. John Lutheran School in Michigan. The team members won a trip to U.S. Space Camp.

Even if they didn't win, the experience of working on an engineering project has encouraged many of the kids to think about a career in science and technology. One of them is Eric Swyler from New Mexico, who said, “I plan to become a scientist of some kind, but I’m not sure exactly what kind.”

Swyler does not have to worry. He has plenty of time to decide.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid