Smart Cities-Smart Futures, Kate Field

Just-retired Gateway Technical College horticulture instructor Kate Field has survived is among the 12 final-round winners in Foxconn Technology Group’s Smart Cities–Smart Futures competition, with a plan for rooftop hydroponics and what she calls an ag-tech building.

MILWAUKEE — A just-retired Gateway Technical College horticulture instructor is among the 12 final-round winners in Foxconn Technology Group’s Smart Cities–Smart Futures competition.

The winners were announced Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee, and they included Kate Field, formerly of Gateway. She submitted a proposal called the Wisconsin Urban Food Initiative which involves hydroponics. Field’s idea is to take old buildings and convert them into hydroponic facilities with a greenhouse on the roof, apartments or condominiums in the middle, and on the bottom floor an “incubator kitchen,” year-round farmers market/public market, flexible space for workshops and events, with a café and a health-and-wellness facility also a part of the building complex.

The idea also includes an on-site research component.

Foxconn said that Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s director of U.S. strategic initiatives, along with academic leaders and competition partners, recognized 12 outstanding ideas submitted by students, faculty, and staff. They represented Gateway, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Platteville.

In May 2018, Foxconn pledged up to $1 million in cash and in-kind technical support over a three-year period to support innovative ideas that enhance quality of life, improve working environments, expand transportation networks, inspire creative city planning, and promote sustainable energy solutions. Submissions were evaluated by a group of 50 judges based on clarity, impact, marketability, and other criteria.

Final round competitors were required to write a 1,500-word essay and create a five-minute video explaining how their submission contributes to the vitality of smart communities. Ideas submitted for the competition covered the following categories: energy and the environment, mobility and transportation, education, e-health, software, the internet of things, smart homes, robotics and manufacturing, and big data analytics.

The awards

Twelve submissions were selected as third and final round winners from an initial pool of 325 first round applicants. Thursday’s winners received a $5,000 cash prize for a total of $7,000 in awards over the duration of the entire competition. Beginning last year at a ceremony at Carthage College, first-round winners received $500, advancing to the second round where winners received $1,500.

The other winners announced Thursday:

  • Hanwan Jiang and team, UW-Platteville;
  • Bahareh Behzadnezhad and team, UW-Madison;
  • Michelle Botts and team, Medical College of Wisconsin;
  • Michael Schlicting and team, UW-Madison;
  • Brandon Tefft and team, Medical College of Wisconsin;
  • Jiatong Li and team, UW-Madison;
  • Prof. Jeffrey Blessing, Milwaukee School of Engineering;
  • Fang Yang and team, UW-Platteville;
  • Zak Sharif-Sidi and team, Medical College of Wisconsin;
  • Jingjie Li and team, UW-Madison; and
  • Zihao Jin and team, UW-Milwaukee.

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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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