STEM Forward
Press Release

Wisconsin Middle Schoolers Design a Waste-Free City to Compete in the Annual Future City Regional Competition


By - Jan 25th, 2022 06:00 am

Milwaukee, WI – Imagine a city 100 years in the future that generates no waste and no pollution. Is this even possible? If we look to the natural world, the answer is yes! In nature, one organism’s waste is another organism’s food, while nutrients and energy flow in a cycle of growth, decay, and reuse. The 2021-22 Future City Competition hosted by STEM Forward challenged local middle school students to design and imagine such a city.

This year’s competition asked teams to design a waste-free city using the principles of a circular economy.   A circular economy is a way to create, make, and use things. It requires shifting our systems and will involve everyone and everything: businesses, governments, and individuals; our cities, our products, and our jobs. The circular economy is based on three design principles: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials at their highest value and regenerate nature. It is underpinned by a transition to renewable energy and materials and is an excellent resilient system for business, people, and the environment.

Working as a team with an educator and STEM mentor, students presented their vision of the future through a 1,500-word city essay; a scale model of their city built with recycled materials; a project plan to help keep their project on track; a short video presentation, and a live, online Q&A session with a panel of technical judges. Keeping the engineering design process and project management front and center, students were asked to address an authentic, real-world question: How can we make the world a better place?

This year 49 teams competed, representing 21 school schools across Wisconsin, and we are pleased to announce the five finalist teams.

  • First Place: Team Greendale City, Glen Hills from Glendale
  • Second Place: Team Lanakauhale, Golda Meir from Milwaukee
  • Third Place: Team Aurora Valley, Whitman from Wauwatosa
  • Fourth Place: Team Ville des Pomme, Wheatland Center, Burlington
  • Fifth Place: Team Lua Pele, Waukesha STEM Academy, Waukesha

Congratulations to the five Finalists! You will be amazed at the talent of these energic students as they present their cities of the future. Learn more and watch the top 5 team’s video presentations at

Each year, over 45,000 students representing 1,500 schools and 50 regions in the U.S. and abroad participate in the Future City Competition. Representing Wisconsin, Greendale City from Glen Hills Middle School will face off at the Future City Finals virtual event on April 7, 2022, with the other regional team winners from all over the world.

“STEM Forward is thrilled to be able to offer this program to middle school students and are amazed at their talent and level of work they produce. We hope that participation in Future City sparks their interest in STEM and perhaps pursuit in a STEM career. The future looks bright with these students at the helm!” stated Heather Dummer Combs, Future City Program Manager at STEM Forward.

Future City has ongoing engineering and technical professionals’ endless opportunities to volunteer in several roles, including team mentors, virtual competition judges, and regional coordinators. We couldn’t have done it without the help of the 100 plus volunteer judges and 27 Milwaukee School of Engineering student volunteers! For more information about Future City and volunteer opportunities, visit

About STEM Forward

STEM Forward is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and metro Milwaukee’s leading K-12 STEM education and outreach provider. STEM Forward’s programs, events, and activities inspire local youth to pursue STEM careers and provide a talent pipeline to businesses in southeastern Wisconsin.

Mentioned in This Press Release

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