Thursday, February 1, 2018

Future City 2018—Building Quality Community Award Winner Reaches New Heights

Mobility, recreation, wellness—the future looks good in the 2018
Building Quality Communities Special Award-winning city of "Osoto."
You may not recognize them yet, but these youthful faces are already city innovation leaders!

Teams of middle-school students from all over the state gathered recently at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount for the annual Minnesota Regional Future City Competition.

Students work throughout the fall semester each year to develop a city of the future for the annual competition.

These cities and their student creators then vie for three general awards and over a dozen special awards. A special theme picked each year guides an emphasis on a particular design feature. This years’ theme was “The Age-Friendly City”—creating an environment that will allow senior citizens to be as active and independent as they want to be.

The Building Quality Communities Special Award
League staff attend this event every year to judge the "Building Quality Communities" special award. This award is given to the team that best demonstrates how a city government can improve the quality of life for its citizens. This may include the ways that city leaders include others in making decisions or the policies and services that make citizens' daily lives easier and more meaningful.

There were some great candidates for the 2018 Building Quality Communities award! This year's Building Quality Communities Award went to the city of “Osoto,” created by a team from Black Hawk Middle School in Eagan. Teacher David Herem is the team's advisor and Russ Matthys, director of public works for the city of Eagan, volunteers as their engineer mentor.

What made Osoto oh-so desirable? Osoto embraces and reflects the beauty of its natural mountainous setting. There is so much to do within the community that’s all within walking distance or accessible by their monorail transportation system—a great design feature that will benefit older residents as well as the young. An emphasis on recreation incorporates both public and private offerings: residents can spend time at the community center, shopping, catching a movie at the cinema, or relaxing at one of the many common spaces. There’s even a community garden. Health and wellness go hand-in-hand with Osoto's community values. In addition to providing important city services such as police and fire, all residents have the opportunity to wear a fitness tracker bracelet that assists them in living a healthy lifestyle.

Osoto's civically minded residents also put an emphasis on education. The schools hold a strong focus on “togetherness.” This motto helps build a strong sense of community from a young age.

Once again League staff walked away impressed and inspired by the creative thinking of tomorrow's leaders. Thanks to all the teams that competed, and congrats to Black Hawk Middle School!

Photo credit goes to League staffer Phil Trebatoski

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