A city of the future --"Apricus" --designed by students from Chippewa Middle School in St. Paul, MN, has won the 10th annualNational Engineers WeekFuture City Competition(TM). Students Matthias Chan, Jo Jackson, and Alex Wrobel teamed up with their teacher, Nancy Roussin, and volunteer mentor, Stefan Gantert, a civil engineer at SEH Incorporated.

Apricus is a Latin word meaning "a sunny place." Each zone in the city contains a unique feature --for example, in the residential area, each block includes a pond and a park area. Apricus maintains a self-sufficient system in its power, water, and waste management. The city's high tech industries include Mars research, medical and science centers, and Hovercraft wind technology. A recent development in transportation is the Laser Line, a high-speed light rail system. Apricus has several farms, surrounded by green space. One of the crops grown is alfalfa, which is processed and used as biodiesel fuel.

Winning teams from 27 regional competitions held in January participated in the not-for-profit competition that took place Feb. 19 and 20 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington. More than 30,000 middle school students from 950 schools participated nationwide.

The competition asks students to create --first on computer and then in large 3-D scale models --their visions of the city of tomorrow. Students work with engineer mentors who help guide the youngsters through the rigors of building a functioning city. Using SimCity 3000(TM) --donated by Maxis, a software firm in Walnut Creek, CA--the students fabricate a metropolis from the ground up, balance a city budget and deal with intractable social issues such as pollution and unemployment, solving intricate problems of math, science, and technology along the way. Then they present and defend their city to engineer judges at the competition, write an essay about research, exploration, generation, and conservation of energy and an abstract describing their city and its services.

Special awards sponsored by various engineering societies, corporations and organizations included: Best Design for a Sustainable Community (American Society of Civil Engineers): Indian River Middle School in Chesapeake, VA; Most Innovative Design of Infrastructure Systems (American Society of Civil Engineers); Best Indoor Environment (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers); Pine Middle School in Reno, NV; Best Futuristic City (American Society of Mechanical Engineers International); Lewiston- Porter Middle School in Youngstown, NY; Best Energy Efficient City: (Association of Energy Engineers) -Algonquin Middle School in Averill Park, NY; Best Use of Automation and Control in City Systems and Services (The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society): St. John Lutheran School in Rochester, MI; Excellence in Systems Integration (Institute of Industrial Engineers): Taft Middle School in Cedar Rapids, IA.

The Future City Competition is sponsored by National Engineers Week, founded in 1951 by the National Society ofProfessional Engineers to increase public awareness and appreciation of the engineering profession and of technology. Co-chairs for 2002 are the American Society of Civil Engineers and DuPont.