What will tomorrow's cities and food systems look like?

close-up of a small, modeled city

No matter who you are or where you are, you need to eat.

In a few decades, it will be harder to find food because climate change, overpopulation and urban development are posing threats to the world’s food supply.

It’s predicted that between now and 2030, the majority of the world’s population growth will occur in cities. Maximizing urban spaces for food growth will be of the utmost importance for a sustainable existence.

But what will food production look like in our cities?

On Jan. 17, middle school students from across Arizona will answer this question during the 2015 Future City Arizona Regional Competition set to take place at Arizona State University.

ASU’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, through its Sustainability Solutions Festival, is sponsoring the Walton Sustainable Community Award and prize. The winning team will be invited to present and share their city at the 2015 Sustainability Solutions Festival, taking place across the Valley Feb. 16-21.

“Every year we are impressed with the ingenuity of the competing middle school students,” said Patricia Reiter, executive director of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. “This competition inspires future problem-solvers to use their creativity and imagination to find solutions to some of the world’s toughest issues. We look forward to seeing how students reimagine access to food in the cities of the future.”

The Arizona Regional Competition is part of the national Future City Competition, an initiative of DiscoverE. The national competition will bring together more than 40,000 middle school students from around the United States to form teams to devise a way to grow and share food within cities, develop a virtual prototype using SimCity software and construct their solution within a physical-scale-modeled city, using recycled materials. One qualifying team from each regional competition will receive a trip to the Future City National Finals in Washington, D.C.

“We are extremely pleased to have the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives and the ASU community as partners for our 18th annual Future City Competition,” said Mike Andrews, Future City Arizona region coordinator. “This unique partnership is just one example of bringing the engineering and education communities together to solve real-world problems, a primary goal of the National Future City Competition.”

Community members are invited to attend the Arizona Regional Competition and support the future innovators of a sustainable world. If you are an engineering, science, technology or math professional or organization, and would like to be involved in the competition, consider serving as a regional judge.

You can apply here or contact Mike Andrews at michael@andrews-associates.com.