Brent D. Ryan

Brent D. Ryan is Head of the City Design and Development Group and Associate Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. His research focuses on the aesthetics and policies of contemporary urban design, particularly with respect to current and pressing issues like deindustrialization and climate change. Professor Ryan’s first book Design After Decline: How America rebuilds shrinking cities, was selected by Planetizen as one of its ten best urban planning books of 2012, and his second book, a treatise on urban design as a plural art, will be published by MIT Press in 2017.

Professor Ryan’s research has been published in the Journal of Urban Design, Journal of Planning History, Urban Design International, Urban Morphology, and the Journal of the American Planning Association, which awarded his article “Reading Through A Plan” its best article of 2011. Professor Ryan has also written numerous chapters for books including The City After Abandonment; Urban Landscape; The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning; Rethinking Global Urbanism; and Urban Megaprojects: A Worldwide View.

Professor Ryan has three current research projects in China, all funded by the Sam Tak Lee Laboratory, examining coastal landmaking, the threat to urban villages, and a case study in transfer of development rights. He has also consulted for the World Bank on planning projects for emerging economies in Eastern Europe, and he will initiate a five-year study of sustainability in Siberian cities in 2017, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Prior to joining MIT, Professor Ryan taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was also Co-Director of the City Design Center. Professor Ryan holds a B.S. in biology from Yale University (1991), a M. Arch. from Columbia University (1994), and a Ph.D. in urban design and planning from MIT (2002). 

Areas of Interest
International Development, Sustainability, Theory of Urbanism, Urban Design