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College Students Explore Life in the 2050 Future

Students at Dudley College have been putting together their ideas of how life might be in 2050. As part of a project initiated by Birmingham City University (BCU) and The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), students studying art and design, engineering and A levels worked in teams to put together their vision of what mid-century life might be like.

The 'My 2050 Home' project encouraged these young minds to consider how our society values, sustainability and work and play would alter over the next few decades. The project culminated in students expressing their future vision in a series of posters, which were judged by representatives from BCU and RICS, with individual and team winner being announced.

Kierran Hayes from Dudley, studying Graphics at the college, was a winner in the individual and team categories, and he told us "This started off as a college project but I soon found myself really enjoying working with people from other courses and it inspired me to start thinking about life in the future, and how I could use my design and illustrations skills to tell people about the problems we may find ourselves facing. I've always had an interest in the environment, and it worries me when I can see changes happening now."

Kierran's winning individual entry focused on pollution and carbon emissions, and explored how we can make small changes in our family life that have a big impact on the amount of CO2 we produce. By illustrating the message in two different ways Kierran showed the problem in a serious way and a light-hearted way, more suitable for a schools audience.

The winning team entry that Kierran and other students were involved saw a design for a very futuristic sustainable floating city, powered by wind turbines and tidal energy.

Ideas from the students also included the use of grey water in our homes to compensate for the lack of clean water available in the future, and a sustainable football stadium powered by wind turbines on the roof, kinetic energy generated from people walking and solar panels on the roof of the stadium.

Nick Morton, Head of Birmingham School of the Built Environment said "I'm really impressed at the imagination and thought that has gone into all the project entries. These young people will be living, working and bringing up a family in 2050, so they play a key role as influencers in future developments and may one day find themselves implementing their own project ideas.

"I'm also delighted to see how the young people have worked together as teams. The blend of skills and the management of the team dynamics are demonstrated in the high standard of work produced, and the enthusiasm the students have shown when discussing their ideas. These skills are invaluable whatever career path the students opt for."