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ENR asked its readers to open up their minds and take a shot at writing short fiction about the future of construction—and boy did they!

Top Features

Imagining Construction's Future: An Overview

In the extremely practical world of construction, almost everything we set out to imagine and build is based on what is currently doable. Science fiction, however, earns its special place by opening a gap between what we can do today and what we might do tomorrow.

Exploring the Future of Construction Through Science-Fiction Stories

The idea for our theme issue, "Imagining Construction's Future," was born in July 2012 when Intel futurist Brian David Johnson gave a keynote at ENR FutureTech.

Award Winners and the Judges
More Stories Of Distinction
Other Notable Entries

Building the IRTS
An eager young construction-site novice, with the help of "the Doughboy," plays his role in making transportation history: helping to build the next generation’s sequel to the interstate highway system.

Renovation Is New Life
A high-tech approach and modern tools speed the renovation of a 19th-century structure, but more importantly, help the builders find hidden elegance and turn a house into a home.

Leon's Story
Despite all that technology has done by 2085 to push construction and society forward, a proud and perplexed designer laments the missing human touch.

A high-tech design center puts the project manager at the center of the action in engineering, construction and life-cycle management, impressing the owner with its potential for his own work products.

The Kindled Highway
In a world where extreme heat waves have wreaked havoc on everything, including roads and bridges, the construction industry finds a way to adapt.

The Last Superintendent
In this two-page graphic short story, a lone construction superintendent in the distant future checks in on a jobsite for perhaps the final time.

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
The impacts of intelligent machines and equipment on project delivery are seen in this portrait of one project implementer’s ordinary workday in building formulation.

After long careers spent in construction and robotics, an inventor and his best friend reflect on the one innovation that revolutionized the jobsite.

Starscraper, An Excerpt
The elaborate safety plan for workers building a 248-story tower is put to the test in this excerpt from Stephen R. Galati's "Starscraper."

The Building Is THERE
A newly invented tool that can project a building design onto its site using light vectors has the potential to dramatically change construction and other industries.

I Want To Be an Engineer
A youngster of the future learns how construction was done in the early 21st century and then goes on a construction-site tour with his father and discovers a passion for engineering.

August 20, 2044
Take a journey to the construction projects of 2044. A world of robots, augmented reality and 3D printers! See how today’s ideas and visions are tomorrow’s reality.

A Day In Construction: 2045
Even in 2045, with technology as advanced as it is, problem solving and the creativity of the human mind can never be replaced and danger will still lurk on a jobsite.

A post-apocalyptic thriller centered on James, an F4 tunnel surveyor, and his inadvertent battle to expose the BODY, Earth's new subsurface government.

A Blast From the Past
Contractors are racing to belt the Earth with a gossamer shade to dampen global warming as the world's No. 1 construction priority–until there is an ominous jolt in Formation E-1022.

Construction 2030
Architects, engineers, artists and electronic media geniuses collaborate to create the design, precision-engineering and 3D printing of structural elements on site for New York City housing.

New Frontiers
Terrorism at 20,000 feet threatens a high-profile construction project and sends a field engineer into a mind-blowing tailspin.

The Trouble With Bots
The jobsite robot you hate today may become the robot that saves your life tomorrow.

The Electro-Carbon Lift
A technological breakthrough makes construction cranes suddenly obsolete, but human hands still do all the rigging.

The Divine Man
The world is about to come to an end when someone introduces a virus into the computer network of a global construction company.

The Lake Michigan Causeway
A proposed bridge may feature the latest and greatest in technology and design, but you still have to face a committee and make your pitch.

A Day in the Life of a Construction Grunt, 2043
A construction worker who works on the moon to mine a hot commodity confronts a hard truth about human nature.

Bracing for Sanfrantechie
A senior project manager in 2068 prepares for an ENR interview by reviewing the technology on a breakthrough federal project. He has a lot on his mind—but that’s OK: His mind is an extension of the project cloud.

Seattle to Siem Reap
Halfway through the 21st century, global construction has a brand new meaning. But local politics? And a good latte? Some things never change.

In the Face of Disaster
When a cataclysmic event throws off course a group of construction engineers on a cruise, they must learn how to use basic materials on hand in their new surroundings to build shelter and survive.

The Day Spencer Jammed My Printer
Workers who resent new building technologies as job threats take action in the not-too-distant future.

A Super Morning
Autonomous vehicles and a new formulation for concrete that makes rebar obsolete are hallmarks of the daily routine of a contractor in the third decade of the 21st century.

A troubleshooter on a highly automated, intensively integrated, thought-activated jobsite hits a wall while debugging a problem by querying tech about tech. But then she finds hope in an antiquated solution.

Among Us
A vacation from the jobsite and a wander in a nearby state park turns into an exploration of ancient construction and extraterrestrial project management.

When the dust settled from the chaos of the fall of the United States, the four Contingents were born: Western, Eastern, Mountain and Great Lakes. They are shaped by agreements on water use. Contractors construct pipelines through the dangerous, wild areas in between: the Deadlands.

Meeting of the Minds
In the year 2070, the editor-in-chief of Engineering News-Record goes on the press tour of a lifetime—to earth orbit to observe construction of a habitat that will carry explorers light-years into space.

Presidential Infrastructure Address, 2038
Excerpts from the fictional address delivered by a future president on the urban infrastructure policy changes. Infrastructure decay that began in the last quarter of the 20th century continued, reaching crisis proportions, until engineers and wisdom prevailed.

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Critical Path: ENR's editors and bloggers deliver their insights, opinions, cool-headed analysis and hot-headed rantings
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