TeenTech urges schools to design ‘City of Tomorrow’

Effort to introduce schoolchildren to STEM careers throws focus on thinking about smart buildings

Schoolchildren and teachers have been encouraged to start thinking about smart buildings as part of the movement to help young teenagers see career possibilities in science, engineering and technology.

TeenTech, which runs initiatives to promote the movement, has begun to scale up its City of Tomorrow Challenge after the early pilots in Barnsley and Doncaster.

Maggie PhilbinMaggie Philbin, chief executive officer of TeenTech and former presenter of Tomorrow’s World on BBC TV, said any school in the UK can take part and that about 3,000 students have already become involved.

Speaking at the Smart Places & Connected Communities event, staged by UKAuthority and Microsoft, she outlined the two tasks in the challenge: designing one building to live in; and designing a public building for one of a range of purposes, including social, sport, education or health.

The requirements are that the designs for the buildings use recycled materials, and that they meet at least three of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals. If they reach the regional events they are given insights into a range of different careers in the sector.

“We’re encouraging students to have a vision on what the future city should look like,” she said, adding: “We want young people and schools to understand that technology is not something that is siloed into computer science.

“It is something that everyone needs to be across, so helping every teacher understand that they need to embed digital skills in their teaching is very important.”

Microsoft, one of the sponsors, has supported a range of mini-projects for students to help them develop digital and technical skills.

Image from TeenTech