The year is 2732 in Temple of Purity, a city alongside India's majestic Yamuna River that is devoted to protecting the environment and providing clean, fresh water to 1 million citizens.
The city was fashioned after the founders' vision to blend a rich cultural history with exceptional, technologically-advanced facilities and resources.
That city, described in an essay by the Genoa Middle School students from Westerville who created it, won second place among 14 teams in Ohio's Jan. 11 regional finals of the Future City Competition.
The contest, held at the Eastland Career Center, 4465 S. Hamilton Road in Groveport, is a national program sponsored by DiscoverE to promote an interest in technology and engineering in middle school students through hands-on, real-world applications.
Westerville's Walnut Springs Middle School placed fourth, and Heritage Middle School, regional champions who advanced to the National competition in Washington, D.C., the past two years, placed sixth.
In this year's special awards, Heritage won People's Choice and honorable mention for Best Use of Energy.
Anne Bates, a sixth-grade teacher at Heritage and team adviser, said the students were challenged to create a city at least 100 years in the future with the theme, "Clean Water: Tap into Tomorrow."
She said the students were asked to identify a threat to their cities' water supply and design a resilient system to ensure a reliable source of clean drinking water.
The Heritage team created a city called Khair Quadan, deep within the Mongolian Mountains. The threat to their water was listed as a waterborne disease from runoff from melting glaciers.
"The four-monthlong project consists of four deliverables -- a project plan, a virtual city using SimCity software, a 1,500-word essay, a scale model of the city made primarily of recycled materials with at least one moving part," Bates said.
The Heritage team includes Vivienne Narotski, Madison Slade, Parker Caney, Michaela Dorsey, Andrew Fyock, Theo Garrett, Sammy Gurgiolo, Michael Hohl, Ryan King, Alyssa Myers, Karsyn Poulsen, Lauren Poulsen, Bekah Pyle, Shrey Shyamalan, Eli Tansey and James Weaver.
Gurgiolo said Khair Quadan is Mongolian for "love on the edge of the mountain."
He said he has had so much fun participating in the contest, and he's sad this event will mark the end of his participation in Future City.
In addition to Bates, the team was advised by seventh-grade science teacher Shannon Ball and engineer Erik McPeek from the Delaware County Regional Sewer District.
Genoa team adviser Tina Bardwell said she has been impressed by many things her team created for their project.
The Genoa team includes Andrew (AJ) Boyd, Andrew Wang, Andrew (Drew) Miller, Anthony Malek, Aarzoo Boparai, Ryan Fowler and Preston Ross.
Wang said Temple of Purity is an innovative city that takes water from the ocean and purifies it through a process known as electrofusion.
Boparai said the city really focuses on its citizens, so the purpose of everything in it benefits the residents.
"All of the green spaces (on the model city) represents parks and all the moss on top of the buildings are trees to help with fresh air," she said.
Boyd said Temple of Purity, in New Delhi, India, focuses not only on maximizing recyclables but a good system to deal with garbage.
"For example, our plasma-gasification plant uses plasma gasification, the process at which heat and electricity are used to convert discarded materials into usable materials," he said.
Walnut Spring Future City adviser Phil Carney said his team includes Jane Gruber, Xiaoxuan Li, Ari Siegel, Ari Nagle, Sofia Diaz, Caroline Tenney, Mabel Cumming-Vukovic, Thomas Dalton, Sophia Wright and Lauren Niccum with Nate Lang as the mentor/engineer from the city of Westerville as a construction manager.
"The kids have worked very well together to make a model that has several moving parts, 3D-printed elements, materials utilized from Walnut's makerspace and many natural and recycled elements," Carney said. "The students also made a working electric train by watching YouTube."
The team's city, Darya Island, uses only green energy, according to Wright.
"On the northern end of our island, we have an array of windmills, and each civilian has a display of solar panels to supplement the rest of their energy need," Dalton said.
Carney said the success Heritage has had over the years has really been great to see and has helped motivate Walnut Springs.
The first-place finisher of Ohio's regional finals and winner of an all-expense-paid trip to the Future City Competition National Finals in Washington, D.C., Feb. 15-19, is Batavia Middle School of Batavia.
In the Special Award category, Dublin Sells Middle School won first place for Best Use of Ceramics, Best Use of Water Resources Engineering and Best Land Surveying Practices.
Dublin also won honorable mention for the Most Environmentally Friendly entry.