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ASLA Joins Global Middle School STEM Challenge for Future City Competition

Last year, ASLA joined the growing community of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) advocates driving a movement to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals with Future City. Future City is a project-based learning program that challenges middle school students to imagine, design, and build cities of the future. A program of DiscoverE, the Future City Competition challenged students to design a resilient power grid for their future city that could withstand and quickly recover from the effects of a natural disaster.

The Future City Competition engages more than 40,000 middle school students each year throughout the United States and abroad. Teams of students worked for four months to complete five deliverables: a virtual city design (using SimCity), a 1,500-word essay, a scale model built from recycled materials, a project plan, and a presentation for judges at regional competitions.

In February, winning teams represented their region at the finals in this District of Columbia. Forty-three teams from three countries and more than 1,000 participants came together to celebrate the creativity and innovation of participants and see which team would walk away as the winner.

As a new partner of Future City, ASLA sponsored the special award category, Best Integration of Nature-Powered Solutions. Kendra Hyson, ASLA, and Jason Kohler, ASLA, judged the category and selected winners for best demonstrating how landscape architects apply design to harness the power of natural resources to solve complex, sustainable development challenges. ASLA’s award recognized the power of nature, design, and the thoughtful work of landscape architecture. 

 

Nate Ball
Nate Ball, Host of PBS Kids' Design Squad Global

ASLA’s Career Discovery and Diversity Manager Lisa J. Jennings describes the event as “the Oscars for hard working students.” MIT’s Nate Ball, inventor and host of the PBS Kids show Design Squad Global announced that students from Edlin School, representing the Mid-Atlantic region, won ASLA’s Best Integration of Nature-Powered Solutions award. The focus of their city ranked highest for combating the urban heat island effect with their lush landscape, their versatile energy sources, interactive model, and great teamwork. Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ASLA, Executive Vice President/CEO presented the award.

 

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