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ASLA Celebrates Second Year Sponsorship of Global Middle School STEM Challenge for Future City Competition

ASLA recently celebrated its second year of partnership with Future City, a growing community of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) advocates driving a movement to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals using the built environment. 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 challenges students to design a resilient power grid for their future city that could withstand and quickly recover from the effects of a natural disaster.

This year, Stephen McLaughlin, ASLA, Steven Rogers, ASLA and Negar Tabibian, ASLA served as judges of ASLA’s Special Award for the Best Integration of Equity in Designing the Built Environment using Nature-Powered Solutions. During the Future City Competition Award Ceremony on February 18, 2020, MIT’s Nate Ball, inventor and host of the PBS Kids show Design Squad Global, announced that students from Central Pennsylvania won ASLA’s special award, which was presented by Career Discovery and Diversity Manager Lisa Jennings.

About the Future City Competition

The Future City Competition engages more than 45,000 middle school students each year throughout the United States and abroad. Teams of students worked for four months to complete five deliverables, which include 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. ASLA’s Career Discovery and Diversity Manager Lisa J. Jennings describes the event as “the Oscars for hard working students.” See who won the 2020 Future City Finals at

ASLA Members Help Students Design Future Cities for 2020 Competition


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Irene Ogata, ASLA (above) recently completed her 4th year working with the Billy Lauffer Middle School, Sunnyside School District, Tucson, AZ on the Sunnyside Future City STEAM Program. The only landscape architect on the team, Ogata was called in to work with students to apply their research to imagine cities of the future and create concept art for their city models.)

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