Getting Kids Pumped about Public Space

main stage proctors future city competition albany

This Saturday, October 22nd, Project Director Judie Gilmore will present Breathing Lights to 6th, 7th and 8th graders from schools around the extended Capital Region who are learning engineering skills as they work in a team with their teacher and engineering mentor to design, build, and present their city of the future.

The Future City Competition is a national program that starts with a question—how can we make the world a better place? To answer it, middle school students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. Past topics include stormwater management, urban agriculture, and green energy. The 2016-2017 topic is The Power of Public Space.

On Saturday, local students will have the opportunity to engage in a hands-on tutorial from 9 am until noon at the Albany Heritage Area Visitor Center. This year’s tutorial is an immersive discussion of the topic, The Power of Public Space. The topic comes at a timely moment for the Capital Region, as more attention is focused on “zombie” properties and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara’s “Be a Good Neighbor” campaign. Recent publicity has called attention to vacant buildings in communities, which lower the value of surrounding properties, do not provide tax revenue, and burden taxpayers with the cost of upkeep. Students on Saturday will discuss the role that vacant, under-utilized, contaminated, and abandoned spaces have on our communities, and discuss ways to transform these spaces in their cities of the future that they are imagining as a team.

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