Middle school students square off to design best ‘Future City’

Middle school students square off to design best ‘Future City’

Who will design the next City of the Future? It could be one of the teams of North Carolina middle school students competing in Raleigh later this weekend.

The Future City Competition will bring together 24 teams of 6th- 7th- and 8th-graders from across the state starting at 9 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 27 at McKimmon Center on the campus of N.C. State. WithersRavenel is a sponsor of the competition’s “Best Land Planning Award,” and company volunteers will be among the judges at the 17th annual North Carolina competition.

Student teams have been working on their projects for months. The teams were challenged to:
• Design a city using SimCity software
• Research and write a 1,500-word essay
• Create a Project Plan to identify goals, plan and schedule the team’s work
• Use recycled materials to build a physical model that has at least one moving part
• Present the team’s city to a panel of judges at the North Carolina competition

Charlie Townsend, WithersRavenel Engineer-In-Training, participated in Future City competitions for three years while he was in middle school. He said the experience shaped his future.

“I can personally attest to the wide range of skills that students gain through the competition,” he said. “Competing helped me learn more about not only engineering, but what it truly takes to plan a city. I can credit the start of what is now my professional career in Civil Engineering to my involvement in the Future City Competition over 15 years ago.”

Townsend continues to be involved in the program. He is the current Director of Finance for Future City in North Carolina and helps coordinate WithersRavenel’s competition volunteers.

The overall state winner from the Jan. 27 event advances to a February national competition in Washington, D.C.

A young Charlie Townsend competes in the Future City competition in 2006.