ESD Michigan Regional Future City Competition


Future City is completely virtual for the 2020-2021 program cycle, which means teams can fully participate whether they are able to meet in person or remotely. Adapt the program to fit your needs whether you are in a classroom or distance learning!

The Michigan Regional Future City Competition will be held virtually on February 25, 2021.

What is Future City?

Future City starts with a question—how can we make the world a better place? To answer it, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue.

New for the 2020-21 Season

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty surrounding the school year and extracurricular activities, Future City has been restructured so that teams can complete the deliverables in-person (i.e. in a classroom or afterschool program) or remotely (i.e. collaborating online while learning from home).  The competitions (regionals and Finals) will also take place online, rather than in-person.

The 2020-2021 Future City theme is Living on the Moon.

At night, surrounded by stars or clouds, the Moon looks distant and lifeless. However, it holds a place of unique beauty and dominance in the sky and has been inspiring humanity for eons. Dreamers of all kinds—artists, science fiction writers, scientists, engineers—have imagined a thriving city on the Moon, one with healthy people and a resourceful, sustainable ecosystem. New ideas are constantly being dreamed up and tested.

The students’ challenge: Design a future lunar city and provide examples of how your city uses two Moon resources to keep your citizens safe and healthy.

New This year!

  • Not Required! Virtual City: No longer a required deliverable. Teams can use SimCity as an educational tool (codes will be provided) but nothing is submitted or scored.
  • No change! City Essay: Design a lunar city and provide examples of how your city uses two Moon resources to keep your citizens safe and healthy. (58 points)
  • Updated! City Model: Teams build a physical model of their future city (to scale) using recycled materials. Teams may create a single model OR multiple model segments. Then using the provided template, teams will submit a PDF slideshow containing photos and accompanying descriptions of their model prior to the Regional Competition. (65 points)
  • Updated! City Video Presentation: Teams record a 7-minute video presentation about their city. The recorded video is due prior to the virtual Regional Competition and the question-and-answer session will be separate (see below). (50 points)
  • Newly Separate! City Q&A: No longer part of the City Presentation, the City Q&A has its own rubric this year. In order to maintain the interaction between students and professionals that makes Future City so special, teams will have an expanded 10-minute question-and-answer session with judges from the engineering, technical, and city design fields. Sessions will be conducted live via a video conferencing platform and scheduled by your Regional Coordinator. (25 points)
  • No change! Project Plan: Teams complete a project plan to help them plan and organize their project. (10 points)

Given the deliverable updates this year there will be:

  • 3 kids who appear in the presentation video
  • 3 kids who answer questions in the live Q&A with judges, and
  • 3 kids who represent their team during special award judging

For this year (given the virtual situation), we will allow for these to all be the same 3 kids, OR be different members of the team (meaning, if a team wanted to have all different kids for each, up to 9 kids could be involved in total). We think this is a great opportunity to engage more participants. When we return to in-person deliverables, the rule can be reverted back.

Bookmark this page for continued updates about the 2020-2021 program cycle:

Who can participate?

The Michigan Regional Future City Competition is open to Michigan students in grades 6th, 7th, and 8th who are from the same school, a home school environment (a Home School Affidavit form will need to be completed), or are members of a nationally, regionally, or state recognized youth-focused organization, such as the Boy or Girl Scouts; Boys and Girls Clubs; 4-H, etc.  The competition is team-based and each team consists of at least three students, an educator and a volunteer mentor. A team can include an entire class or as few as three students. 5th grade students are welcome to participate they are not eligible to go on the Washington D.C however.

How Do Teams Register?

Educators can register a team at or click here

Does Future City Align With National Standards?

Future City aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy and the International Society for Technology in Education’s National Education and Technology Standards.  You can view all of the standards here:

Where Can I Find Additional Resources About The Competition?

Check out our Teacher Page here. Additional resources including a program handbook, helpful webinars, and additional resources to research the essay topic, can be found