Expanding transportation planning capacity in cities of the global south: Public-private collaboration and conflict in Chile and Mexico

Aug 01, 2014. Posted by Phil Sunde

In his dissertation, Onesimo Flores Dewey studied how the governments of cities limited by scarce fiscal resources and weak institutions enhance their transportation planning and regulatory capacities to provide the public with cleaner, safer, efficient, and reliable public transit alternatives. Such aims are particularly challenging for cities of the developing world, in part because a quasi-informal network of privately owned transport operators has been historically responsible for satisfying the public’s mobility needs with minimal state intervention.

Dynamics of Vehicle Ownership in Singapore

Jul 29, 2014. Posted by Phil Sunde

Yunke Xiang (MCP ’14) focused on how cities are trying a range of transportation policy and investment alternatives to reduce car-induced externalities. He explored why, without a solid understanding of how people behave within the constraints from transportation policies, it is hard to tell which of these policies are really doing the job and which may be inducing unintended problems. The focus of this paper is the determinants of vehicle ownership in the motorized city-state context of Singapore.

Too Legit to Quit: Exploring Concepts of Legitimacy and Power in Scaling-Up Community Development Work

Jul 28, 2014. Posted by Phil Sunde

Lillian K. Steponaitis (MCP ’14) examined community-based organizations, in which success is based not only on the services they offer, but also their more intangible networks of trust, robust local relationships, and on-the-ground knowledge of community needs.  As local organizations grow and seek to replicate themselves, the question of local trust and participation, the very basis of their legitimacy, is sometimes challenged.

Mega-Project Politics: The Evolution of Lahore’s First BRT Corridor

Jul 28, 2014. Posted by Phil Sunde

In her thesis Fizzah Sajjad (MCP '14) asks how opportunities emerge for states in the Global South to undertake large-scale spending on public transport, particularly in cases where they have previously withdrawn from its provision. In recent years, such opportunities have emerged in the form of mass transit mega-projects, particularly Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) mega-projects.

Street-Level Air Quality through a Cyclist-Led, Crowdsourced Map in Singapore and Mexico

Jul 21, 2014. Posted by Phil Sunde

In her thesis, Amalia R. Holub (MCP '14) explores the feasibility of creating a street-level air quality map, whereby cyclists gather data through a participatory sensing process as they ride around the city. Two primary areas were studied: the state of the technology for portable air quality monitors, and the likelihood of cyclist participation in gathering data. Amalia conducted experiments in Singapore and Mexico City to determine whether a small, relatively inexpensive monitor can gauge variation in concentrations according to distance from traffic and route choice.

Transportation Data As Disruptive Innovation in Mexico City

Jul 17, 2014. Posted by Phil Sunde

Emily Eros (MCP '14) studied the growing ubiquity of affordable mobile phones and internet-capable devices and how some developing cities are collecting and compiling this data. Her thesis uses a 2013 data collection project to explore the potential impacts of transportation information on microbus regulators, owners/operators, and users. Her findings suggest that increased static information may increase government power with respect to microbus operators, particularly during franchising negotiations, but that it may offer limited benefits to users.

New SPURS Newsletter

Jun 28, 2014. Posted by Ezra Glenn

DUSP's Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) has issued the 2014 edition of their group newsletter, including updates from the Director, coverage of the Abdulaziz Alkhedheiri Leadership Seminar and SPURS's collaboration with Roxbury Community College, an artlcle on Mobility Management in China, and more.  Click the link in the sidebar to download.

A Planning Paradigm for Electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Tanzania

Jun 26, 2014. Posted by Phil Sunde

Sarah Dimson (MCP '14) investigated electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa, where a lack of clean electricity generation sources, poor electricity access and low levels of electricity consumption are profoundly stifling sustainable development.  This thesis presents a specialized investigation, in context of Tanzania, of the primary paradigmatic approaches to electrification – centralized, large-scale grid systems conceived through least-cost-planning; and decentralized, small-scale off-grid systems administered through entrepreneurial pilots.

Redefining the Typology of Land Use In the Age of Big Data

Jun 26, 2014. Posted by Phil Sunde

Liqun Chen (MCP '14) thesis concludes that land use classification is important as a standard for land use description and management.  However, current land use classification systems are problematic. Labels such as “residential use” and “commercial use” do not fully reveal how the land use is used in terms of function, mix use and changes over time. As a result, land use planning is often a natural prompt of segregation; Land use is poorly connected with other fields of urban studies such as transportation and energy consumption.

e4Dev Featured in World Bank Publication

May 02, 2014. Posted by Ezra Glenn

In 2013, with the support of the MIT Energy Initiative, DUSP students Yael Borofsky and Sarah Dimson launched "Energy for Human Development" (e4Dev), a platform for students, faculty, and practitioners to collaborate across disciplines around energy and human development issues in developing countries.