Ontario and P.E.I. students build cities of the future as DiscoverE's Future City Competitions come to Canada for first time

OTTAWA, Jan. 23, 2017 /CNW/ - As the Future City Competition celebrates its 25th Anniversary, 50 classes from the Durham District School Board in Ontario and eight classes from Prince Edward Island will be participating in the competition for the first time.

The Future City Competition has been held in the United States each year since 1992. This year, Engineers Canada has brought the competition to Canadian classrooms, and students are being asked to imagine, research, design and build their vision of a future city. The theme of this year's competition, The Power of Public Space, challenges students to design innovative, multiuse public spaces that serve a city's diverse population.

"We're thrilled that with the generous contributions of our sponsors, we were able to bring the Future City Competition to Canadian students," said Kim Allen, MBA, FCAE, FEC, P.Eng., IntPE, Chief Executive Officer of Engineers Canada. "We hope that the competition will be the spark that inspires these students to become the next generation of engineers and continue contributing their innovative ideas and solutions to societal challenges."

The Future City program and associated activities are directly integrated into the Grades 6, 7 and 8 curricula, and students have been working on their cities as a class, with guidance from their teachers and a STEM mentor, since the beginning of the school year.

"Future City is an exciting and innovative way to bring the engineering design process into Canadian classrooms," said Julia Chehaiber, MEBT, Practice Lead, Community Engagement at Engineers Canada. "The program engages students in a way that teaches research, writing, public speaking and problem-solving skills—21st century skills that will serve them well."

The program requires students to present their solutions by designing a virtual city, writing a 1,500-word essay, building a scale model, creating a project plan and presenting their future city to a panel of judges at regional competitions.

"Our students in the Durham District School Board are loving the Future City competition," said Lisa Lim-Cole, Science and Technology Program Facilitator for the Durham District School Board (DDSB). "As teachers, we've seen our students really engage with the engineering process and they're readily making the connections between their language, geography, math and science curriculums."

Regional competitions were held on Saturday, January 21, in P.E.I., where students from Grace Christian School were selected as the winners for their future city that presented solutions to reduce obesity rates. The Ontario finalist will be selected at a regional competition held at the DDSB on Thursday, January 26.

The P.E.I. and Ontario finalists will both travel to Washington, D.C., in February for the Finals, where they will participate in a four-day competition against other regional finalists. The ultimate winner will take home the grand prize of a trip to U.S. Space Camp and US$7,500 for their school's science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program.

"The students at Grace Christian are very excited to represent P.E.I. in Washington and share their design for a future that reduces the obesity rate," said Libby Osgood, PhD, P.Eng., Assistant Professor at the School of Sustainable Design Engineering at the University of Prince Edward Island. "And as a result of this competition, all students in the eight classes and schools who participated will benefit from the connection they now have with a professional engineer, which will help them with their future STEM projects and activities."

Engineers Canada was able to bring the Future City Competition to Canada thanks to the generous contributions of the competition's Canadian sponsors: TD Insurance Meloche-Monnex, Great-West Life, Manulife, the Durham District School Board, the Leacross Foundation, Engineers of Tomorrow, Engineer-in-Residence, Engineers PEI, the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Numerous volunteers, educators and STEM professionals have also kindly contributed their time and expertise to serve as mentors, judges and organizers to ensure that the participating students enjoy a truly valuable experience.

Engineers Canada intends to grow the Future City Competition in Canada in the coming years to include students from more school boards across all 12 Canadian provinces and territories. Future City is a program of DiscoverE.

"It's estimated that by 2050, 70 per cent of the world's population will live in cities," said Jeanette M. Southwood, M.A.Sc., FCAE, FEC, P.Eng., IntPE, Vice-President, Strategy and Partnerships at Engineers Canada. "With engineers being amongst those in demand to solve the world's problems, inspire innovation and improve quality of life, the next generation of engineers will have an immense impact on the cities of the future."

Engineers Canada is the national organization of the 12 engineering regulators that license the country's 290,000 members of the profession. Together, we work to advance the profession in the public interest. www.engineerscanada.ca


SOURCE Engineers Canada

For further information: Brent Gibson, Practice Lead, Communications, Engineers Canada, 613.232.2474 x234, brent.gibson@engineerscanada.ca


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