Promising Visions Of The Age-Friendly City Of The Future

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development and Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services

Don’t worry about the future folks.  We just met some really smart kids who are going to help us experience the “good life” as we age.

On Monday, we had the unique opportunity to serve as judges at the 2018 Michigan Regional Future City Competition in Novi.  The event was sponsored by The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD).  The mission of the ESD is to encourage young people to become the next generation of scientists and technical professionals.  Our colleagues Tim Juidici and Jessica Katers at OHM (our city’s consulting engineers) connected us to the program.

In preparation for the competition, engineers and teachers worked for many weeks with sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade student teams from local schools to design and build a city of the future.  Each team had a $100 budget and were required to use recycled materials.  Each city needed to display residential, commercial, and industrial areas; power plants; subways; roads; and power distribution networks.  Also, the cities were required to be energy-efficient, while supplying enough energy for their residents.  Other considerations were pollution levels, traffic density, police and fire protection, recreation, and cost efficiency.  30 teams participated in the completion.

This year’s challenge asked participants to “identify an age-related challenge that exists in today’s urban environments and engineer two innovative solutions that allow their future city’s senior citizens to be as active and independent as they want to be.”

Before the New Year, we reviewed some team essays, and on Monday we judged the physical scale model and verbal presentations for several of the teams.  It was fun to listen to and observe the future visions these young people created.

Michigan’s future looks bright!  We look forward to the opportunity to judge this competition again in the future.