ESD Michigan Regional Future City Competition

ESD Michigan Regional Future City Competition

Competition Date: Tuesday, January 21, 2025
Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi

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 work in teams with an educator and a volunteer STEM mentor to imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to an annual design challenge. Participants complete four deliverables: a 1,500-word city essay; a scale model made from recycled materials; a 15-minute presentation and Q&A session with judges; and a project plan. In January, teams present their projects at the Regional Competition. Teams who earn the top spot will participate in the 2025 Finals in February.

What is the 2024 Future City Challenge?

Above The Current – Design a floating city and provide two innovative examples of how your floating city works and keeps its citizens healthy and safe.

What does a mentor do?

Future City is student-led, but mentors are an integral part of the team. Mentors work alongside the team educator (a classroom teacher, afterschool program leader, homeschool educator, or parent) and act as a coach and role model. They provide guidance, connections between academic concepts and real-life, and technical assistance to the middle school team members as the team works on the project deliverables. Mentors can be helpful in reading the team essay and providing feedback, exploring resources with them, and helping them polish their presentation skills. To register as a mentor click here:

What kind of background should a mentor have?

Are you an engineer or technician? An urban planner or architect? Are you an undergrad or graduate student studying a related field? Join our community of mentors!

What is the time commitment?

Mentors typically spend about an hour a week with their team September through January.

Interested in being a mentor?

To find out more about being a mentor, contact Allison Marrs at, or 248-353-0735 ext. 121 or register here:

Why are judges needed and what do they do?

The role of the judge is to draw on their expertise and resources to fairly evaluate the teams’ efforts. Judges are needed for each of the four stages of the competition. The essay will be judged remotely, and the model, presentation & question and answer session will be judged live and in person during the competition on January 21, 2025.

No advance training is required for judging essays, detailed instructions will be provided. The training for competition day judging takes place from 8:15 – 8:45 a.m. the morning of the competition.  The actual judging is from 9 – 11 a.m.

Interested in serving as a judge?

Visit to sign up as a judge. Please be sure to select the Regional judging category and choose Michigan as your region.

For more information on judging, please contact Leslie Smith at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.

Interested in sponsoring?

Consider sponsoring a component of competition day or a special award. Sponsors help offset costs which allows ESD to continue offering this valuable STEM program to students across the state. Future City is an innovative and fun way to introduce middle school students to engineering and a rewarding career they might not otherwise have considered. Click here for more information on becoming a sponsor, or contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.