With the largest Planning faculty in the United States, MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning has unparalled breadth and depth of expertise. In particular, IDG faculty conduct research or work on projects in virtually every area of the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, Oceania, and Central and South America. They explore issues as diverse as our geographic scope: Development, Globalization, Governance, Health and the Environment, Human Rights, Industrialization, Policy and Law, Regional Economies, Technology, Transportation, Urban Issues, and Water and Sanitation.
IDG Students have a number of opportunities to engage in original research, including work opportunities with IDG faculty, international internships and practica, and summer fieldwork. They examine the roles of planners and engage with questions at various levels, ranging from work in international institutions to the national, regional, city and neighborhood scales. Students often apply these opportunities to the development of their Master's theses.
Recent Master's Theses
China Urban Pollution Intensity Disclosure Study (CUPIDS): Socioeconomic Implications of Dirty Industry and a Guide to National Cleandustrialization
How the Institutional Organization of Santiago Affects Its Capacity to Design and Apply Urban Energy Initiatives
Raimundo Cruzat Correa
Tactical Urbanism, Public Policy Reform, and Innovation Spotting
Bridging the Gap: Boundary-less Bureaucrats and Gang Reintegration in Panama City
Dynamic Alliances: Political Economy of Labor Organization in Post-Revolution Egypt
International Diffusion Practice: Lessons from South Korea's New Village Movement
Tejiendo Una Red de Resiliencia/Weaving a Web of Resilience: Internal Displacement, Social Networks and Urban Integration in Cartagena, Colombia
The Political Economy of Urban Land Management in India: Case of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act in Mumbai
Faizan Jawed Siddiqi
Accommodate Street Vendors during the Urban Development Process: With Two Empirical Cases of Zhu Lian (ZL) and Guan Dong (GD) Public Markets in Hsinchu City, Taiwan
Chia Yang Weng
Development for Whom? An Analysis of a Rural Intervention and its Interaction with Agricultural Policies
Recent PhD Dissertations
Neighborhood Design and the Energy Efficiency of Urban Lifestyle in China: Treating Residence and Mobility as a Lifestyle Bundle
The Killing Consensus: Homicide Detectives, Police that Kill and Organized Crime in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Graham Denyer Willis
Expanding Transportation Planning Capacity in Cities of the Global South: Public-Private Collaboration and Conflict in Chile and Mexico
Onesimo Flores Dewey
Essays in Climate and Development
Roberto Guerrero Compean
Three Papers on Input-Output Energy and Environmental Accounting
The Political Economy of Foreign Investment: Constructing Cultural Categories of Capitalist Legitimacy in India
Student Research Opportunities
IDG students have access to extensive resources in locating research opportunities and to the wide array of funding mechanisms necessary to support such research.
CIS Fellowship Database
The CIS Fellowships Database is a joint project sponsored by MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the MIT Department of Political Science and MIT's Center for International Studies. To facilitate the search for financial aid, IDG helps to maintain an updated list of external fellowship opportunities for the study of international issues. The Fellowship Database is available at: http://web.mit.edu/cis/dbsearch.html
Lloyd and Nadine Rodwin International Travel Fellowship
This travel award is given to both US and international students registered in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Three or four travel fellowships of up to $1000 each are awarded to assist students "pursuing research or writing theses while at MIT with special preference, where feasibly, for students from poor countries or regions."
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) program supports full-time graduate students in the humanities and social sciences, regardless of citizenship, who are enrolled in doctoral programs in the United States and conducting dissertation research outside of the Untied States. These fellowships provide support for nine to twelve months of dissertation research. The program is administered by the Social Science Research Council in partnership with the American Council of Learned Societies. http://www.mellon.org
Carroll Wilson Award
The Carroll L. Wilson Award is a grant for up to $5000 awarded to graduated students in any MIT department who wish to pursue exiting and challenging research opportunities abroad. These awards are regularly given to IDG students. The aim of the Wilson awards is to provide opportunities for MIT graduate students to explore a program of research and/or student of an important societal problem with international dimensions.
The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture
The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture is a unique international program that focuses on the study of architecture, urbanism, landscape and conservation in the Islamic world. Every year the program supports one PhD student and 3-4 SMArchS students, and offers a travel grant program that funds the research of 4-5 students chosen from the School of Architecture and Planning. http://web.mit.edu/akpia/www
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy regularly issues requests for proposals in a variety of topics and welcomes submissions that meet the guidelines. The RFPs are posted over the course of each year.
Universal Periodic Review
MIT Anthropology and the indigenous rights organization, Cultural Survival, have begun participation in Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a United Nations mechanism for monitoring human rights (www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx). Currently sponsored through the UROP program, the new effort will seek academic credit and funds for travel to Geneva. Cultural Survival's long running program welcomes students for a variety of projects (www.culturalsurvival.org)
DUSP's Career Development Internship Program solicits internship listings each semester from a database of area alumni/ae and other employers. Students may also use their own contacts and networks to secure positions on their own. The resources of the Career Development Internship Program are open to all DUSP students. Through this program, students receive a stipend of $2500 from DUSP for a semester internship. In turn, employers are invoiced for half of that amount. Students, employers and faculty sponsors sign a three-way agreement describing the work assignment.
Many DUSP internships are eligible for funding under the MIT Community Service World Study Program. Through this program MIT subsidizes 75% of an eligible student's stipend. Information on this program is available from the Student Financial Services office.
In addition, DUSP's Career Development Internship program keeps a list of fellowships that provide summer internships to students, or provide financial support for a summer internship of a student's choice.
The following internships have been extensively explored and utilized by IDG students over a consistent period of time:
With programs in eight countries around the work, the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) is among the principal international programs at MIT. Each year, MISTI sends over 200 MIT students to rigorous, hands-on, tailored internships abroad. (http://web.mit.edu/misti/index.html)
Summer in India
Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats Pvt. Ltd. (http://ictonline.com), a New Delhi cased civil engineering and planning firm offers summer internships for graduate students in planning. ICT works all over India and in several other countries in Asia and Africa. Internships will run for two to three months. DUSP contact for this internship is Mary Jane Daly.
Public Service Center
The MIT Public Service Center exists to motivate, facilitate, and celebrate the ethic and activities of public service at MIT. Their aim is to enrich the education and life experiences of students and other MIT community members. To that end they provide guidance, resources, and support to find or create fulfilling service experiences, locally and around the world. IDG students are regularly awarded Public Service Center Internship and Fellowships funding to pursue professional development and service work abroad. http://web.mit.edu/mitpsc/
Foundation for Sustainable Development
The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1995 to fight global poverty at the community level. Their model incorporates three unique programs that development underserved, international communities in a collaborative and sustainable way. For more detailed information about FCD, visit www.fsdinternational.org
Current Faculty Research
Current Faculty Research
Professor Gabriella Carolini and eight DUSP students are working this summer in KaTembe, a peri-urban district in Mozambique’s capital of Maputo. They are working with a local youth group and architecture students to complete a household and neighborhood survey on basic services and to test new methodologies for determining local affordability of water.
Project blog: http://mitpsc.mit.edu/blog/current-summer-13-mati/
Mobilizing for Adequate, Accessible, and Affordable (A3) Water and Sanitation Services
In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the environmental health research community remains focused on significant problems with the accessibility and/or adequacy of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) – and largely in rural areas. A triple lens – namely of accessibility, adequacy, and affordability (or A3) – better explains how WASH issues are related to and influence the resiliency of vulnerable populations in urban and peri-urban environments in SSA.
Durable Shelters for Displaced Persons in Iraq
Testing the design of durable shelter solutions for internally displaced persons in the post-war era of Iraq with UN-HABITAT, Regional Office for Arab States.
Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment in Colombia
Exploring potential applications of participatory and inclusive land readjustment (PILaR) for urban expansion and redevelopment in Medellin, Colombia with UN-HABITAT, Main Office in Nairobi.
Land Value Capture from Public Transit Investment
Examining land value capture strategies for public transit investment in developing countries with the World Bank.
Property Rights and Housing Policy in the US
Researching the balancing of property rights and obligations in land and housing policy discourse in the United States.
Karen R. Polenske
Energy Use and Food Purchases
Karen co-authored a report for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. The analysis found that in the U.S., use of energy along the food chain for food purchases by or for U.S. households increased between 1997 and 2002 at more than six times the rate of increase in total domestic energy use.
Displacement Research & Action Network
The Displacement Research & Action Network, an initiative of the Program on Human Rights and Justice at MIT, is a global network on displacement and land rights that brings together activists, academics and policy makers to build new theory and evidence of the increase and intensity of mass internal displacement around the world due to development, conflict, or climate disaster.
More information: http://displacement.mit.edu
Property Rights From Below: Rethinking Property Rights Over Natural Resources
This research aims to address the challenges posed by the globalization of property rights over natural resources – land, water and marine resources and genetic resources. What we observe is a growing commodification of these resources, legitimized by arguments based essentially on allocative efficiency and on the need to reward and encourage productivity (understood as the use of resources as a source of economic profit), but that often disregard the rights and interests of the poorest populations in the global South.
More information: http://propertyfrombelow.weebly.com/
Moving Forward: Ending Manual Scavenging in Paliyad (2008)
Working with Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Associate Professor of Law and Development and Director of the MIT Program on Human Rights and Justice, a team of DUSP students in the 2008 practicum class on "Human Rights in India: Dalits and Sustainable Sanitation" have prepared an extensive report and recommendations designed to end the practice of manual scavenging.
Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation
CITE is developing a rigorous methodology for evaluating technological solutions to challenges in the developing world to help donors and policy-makers identify and invest in the best of these solutions. CITE's comprehensive product assessments and reports will be available to the public through a web-based database.
More information: http://cite.mit.edu
P. Christopher Zegras
Over the course of summer 2013, Christopher Zegras' research group, through a partnership with UTL (Urban Travel Logistics) and the MISTI Global Seed Grant, engaged in a two month research initiative to bring Flocksourcing techniques developed and refined in the field in Dhaka, Bangladesh to Mexico City, Mexico.
More information: ?
Mobility Futures Collaborative
A research initiative that focuses on collaborative approaches, leveraging various analog and digital data collection and analysis tools, to mobilize a collective intelligence towards improved mobility conditions in a range of contexts around the world. We work with partners from around MIT and around the world, including: Megacities Logistics Laboratory, Intelligent Transportation Lab, TransitLab, BRT COE, SMART-FM, just to name a few.
A semester-long urban design and planning workshop implemented simultaneously at MIT and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. The advanced workshop will examine BRT corridors in two contexts, Santiago de Chile and Boston, and will involve approximately 15 graduate students at each university.
More information: http://dusp.mit.edu/transportation/project/santiago-practicum
The "Energy Proforma" is an online analysis and design tool created by the MIT Clean Energy City project that estimates the energy use of a city’s residents based on their neighborhood’s design characteristics.
More information: http://dusp.mit.edu/cdd/project/energy-proforma
Designing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridors
This project focuses on the relationship between the design of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems and the planning and design of the urban environments in which they exist, paying particular attention to the design of the street as a complex space that fulfills multiple functions beyond traffic and mobility.
Formalized Transit Infrastructure and Affects on Public Security at Modal Transfer Stations in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area
The new Modal Transfer Station (CETRAM, for its name in Spanish) Ciudad Azteca, also referred to as the Mexipuerto, designed and operated by Grupo Prodi in the municipality of Ecatepec, has become a point of security for the historically dangerous and poverty stricken area. For various reasons, including improved accessibility, formalization of transit, and the provision of secure public spaces, CETRAM Ciudad Azteca is now a refuge of safety in an otherwise insecure neighborhood.
Effects of Built Environment and Land Use Factors on Child Pedestrian Crashes in Santiago, Chile
Traffic accidents are a major concern for the vast majority of government authorities worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), traffic accidents will become the fifth main cause of death by the year 2030. In Chile, five casualties occur daily as a consequence of traffic accidents, and the associated cost is equivalent to 1.5% of the nation’s GDP.
Transportation as A Language
Is travel simply a mandane daily chore? Or may it convery a higher meaning? Surveying aspects of one's life: dining, clothing, sheltering and travelling, all have an element of utility and an element of vanity. In contrast to its usual technical perception, we see transportation as a rich language to describe a person, characterize a city and understand an institution.
More information: http://dusp.mit.edu/cdd/project/transportation-language
ITS and Transit Management
Application of Intellignet Transportation System (ITS) to improve public transit operation, planning and management.
More information: http://dusp.mit.edu/uis/project/its-and-transit-management
Map of Knowledge
A university builds upon its people but sparkles with the interactions among them. This project aims to survey the intellectual interactions at universities and draw their Map of Knowledge.
More information: http://dusp.mit.edu/uis/project/map-knowledge
China’s astronomical growth in automobile conceals significant variations between cities. While Shanghai and Beijing each had about 2 million motor vehicles in 2004, by 2010 Beijing has 4.8 million and Shanghai only 3.1 million. Vehicle owners made up 38% of Beijing households in 2011 in contrast to 18% in Shanghai. Crucial historical and present policy differences influence their effectiveness, revenue, efficiency, equity, and public acceptance.
More information: http://dusp.mit.edu/idg/project/managing-cars