This past fall a new engineering club at Howard Bishop Middle School in Gainesville, FL became the first school in Alachua County to compete in the national Future City Competition. The club was led by Bishop’s Technology instructor, Mr. John Bailey, and the UF STRIDE Center’s K-12 Coordinator, Ondine Wells.
Six students met weekly for five months after school as well as on weekends and holidays to envision a city 100 years in the future. Modelling their city on Gainesville, the students researched innovative city infrastructure solutions and emerging engineering technologies that could be incorporated into their design such as autonomous vehicle technology and permeable pavement. The central, mixed-use portion of the city was envisioned as a “car-free” zone where personal cars were prohibited and pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit were emphasized.
The team completed five competition deliverables including a 1,500 word essay, a project plan, a virtual city using SimCity, a scale model built from recycled materials, and a 7-minute oral presentation. Travelling to St. Petersburg, FL for the regional competition on January 18, 2020, the team competed against 23 other teams and was excited to win 2nd place as well as the People’s Choice Award. Upon returning home, the team presented their project to the Gainesville City Commission on February 20, 2020 and were awarded certificates from the commissioners.
The Future City Competition was started by the DiscoverE (the organization behind National Engineers Week) in 1993 and engages more than 45,000 middle school students each year.
The event was covered by a WCJB, the local ABC news affiliate in Gainesville, Florida. Click here to read the article and view the video.