One GIS guided display prepared by primary school students.

Designing our Future! Mobilizing People for Change!

May 22, 2012

Total Business Solutions Limited, the local distributor of Esri Inc. (the world’s leading GIS company) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is hosting the 1st Annual “My Virtual City” Competition and Exhibition on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.

Guided by the theme “Designing our Future! Mobilizing People for Change!”, students are harnessing the power of technology and geography and learning to be more socially conscious, and promote both human and national development for Belize. The “My Virtual City” competition and exhibition will feature student teams from St. Joseph’s Primary School, Belize Elementary School, Horizon Academy, EP Yorke High School, Belize High School, and Corozal Community College who have imagined, designed, and built cities of the future.

Come experience the future of Belize through the minds of these innovative primary and high school students who have spent months training and working to plan cities using Esri software; research and write solutions to environmental, social, and engineering problems; build tabletop scale models with recycled materials; and present their ideas before judges. The exposition and competition judging will take place from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Princess Hotel, with the Award Ceremony to follow from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm.

Prior to the award presentations, Honorable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth & Sports will give a Keynote Address to the awaiting students. The following prizes will be awarded:
• 1st Prize – Laptops
• 2nd Prize – Smart Phones
• 3rd Prize – Ipods
• $500 honorarium to winning teams’ schools.
• ArcView Home User License for each participant
• Various books and give-a-ways for “Best Teamwork,” “Best Incorporation of GIS,” and “Best City Layout.”

The goals of the “My Virtual City” competition and exhibition are:
• Create awareness and ignite the imagination of the younger generation about GIS.
• Impart knowledge, including how to use Esri software and use problem-solving skills.
• Allow students to experience how GIS can be used for problem solving, planning, and overall improvement of communities, especially Belize.
• Enhance students’ leadership skills by teaching them about human rights and development standards to improve society.
• Stimulate stakeholders to support further development of the youth involved and the aims of the project.

Some quotes from our cities:

“….Healthmore has been built with the idea of a healthy and pollution free environment.” Jordan Campbell, Zazie McKenzie Belize Elementary School

“While KIZZMON is known for its stable economy, its people also enjoy a very clean and tidy environment. KIZZMON focuses on recyclable, non-recyclable and organic materials.” Irene Flores, Jada Jones, Chelse Bennett, Horizon Academy

“Arcadia is an eco-friendly, technology based city that provides safety first and great entertainment. The city hopes to improve Belize and find its way on to the map as the best little city in the world.” Brandon Bennett and O’Sean Hyde, Horizon Academy

“…we think that the children are the most important part of this city; because when children grow up, they are the ones who will work for and develop the city. That is why we let them go to college for free to get their education.” Aidon Perera, Masaki Yanai, Rene Allen. St. Joseph Primary School

“This city is of course designed to preserve our environment for many generations to come.” Samantha Chan, Armando Pérez, Asher Canto. EP Yorke High School

“By 2042, Terra Nova governing body would have eliminated illiteracy from our city.” William Mahler, Exson Cruz. Corozal Community College

“Services such as schools, hospitals, retirement homes, and pharmacies will be available around [our] city rather than have them in one location.” Jovan Gongora, Lance Howard, and Trei Solis. Belize High School

“There is very low unemployment in Nebulas. Residents of Nebulas that cannot afford to feed themselves can apply to receive a healthy food grant delivered each week from the feeding center.” Ethan Singh, Chloe Kelly, and Max Mcfield Belize Elementary School

A special thank you to the students, parents, mentors, and supporters for embracing this project which will help to develop our younger generation to become strategic decision makers who understand how planning and decisions impact our lifestyle, community, nation and world.

We hope that you will find the time to join us for this 1st Annual “My Virtual City” Competition this Wednesday, May 23, 2012 and become part of creating a spatially literate Belizean society.

Contact information

Regina Campbell, Project Coordinator at (501) 223-6807 or Marta Hendrikx, Communications Associate, UNDP at (501) 822-2688