RHP Students Look To Build “Future Cities”

by Nina Li

RHP Students Look To Build “Future Cities”
• RHP students plan and build “Future Cities” for all of us to live in.
Urban planning is a subtle art that influences countless aspects of day-to-day life and depicts how the needs of citizens are met in metropolitan environments. This past Fall and Winter, middle school students at Rolling Hills Prep and Renaissance Schools had the chance to experience these challenges first-hand as participants in the Southern California Future Cities Competition.
Future Cities asked students to envision forward-thinking metropolitan communities that meet the needs of diverse populations through planning and infrastructure. They were tasked with building a scale model of their city, writing an essay explaining its features, and finishing the process with a seven-minute presentation at the competition in San Diego.
rhp.700This year, the competition included a prompt that encouraged students to conceptualize the best “Age-Friendly” cities that considered the changing needs of populations throughout all phases of life.
Rolling Hills Prep and Renaissance students started the process by learning the basic underlying concepts of city planning under the guidance of professional urban planners.
These outside experts guided students through the process of understanding infrastructure and stakeholder needs that create many of the greatest challenges for accessible urban design.
These experts encouraged students to ask how the needs of aging populations change and explored various ways that a city can accommodate those needs.
Students then worked with their teachers, Angela McCray-Hancock, Raemie Begley and Linda Belzer, to construct their early concepts in the city simulation program, Sim City.
Once students understood the important challenges of city planning, such as budget, infrastructure, and architecture, they began planning their entries for the competition.
Each team, broken down by grade, began the process by considering different features they wanted to include in their age-friendly city and started planning the physical layout of their ideal city and writing their essays. During the construction process, students used a variety of tools, methods, and materials to construct their models, including processes like 3D printing.
After months of study, hard work, and construction, the Future Cities teams made their way down to San Diego on Jan. 20 to show their work and present their ideas.
Twenty-eight teams from the Southern California Region competed in the event, and Rolling Hills Prep and Renaissance’s 7th grade team placed 4th overall. A special award was given to acknowledge the theme of “Best Age-Friendly City,” and that was awarded to the schools’ 6th grade team. Students were so thrilled with their performance that they were already discussing ideas for next year’s competition.

— email reports

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