Labs & Centers
Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS)

The Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) program provides the opportunity for mid-career professionals who are or will be shaping policy in developing countries to further develop their planning and problem-solving capacities. Each academic year, 15 to 17 qualified individuals carry out a program of study and research focusing on the problems of urban and regional change within the broader context of development.

SPURS is an intentionally flexible program of study with few requirements. This flexibility allows Fellows to design a course of study that best suits their individual needs and interests, to work closely with the IDG faculty on independent research projects, and to interact with the entire DUSP community. Fellows contribute to the intellectual life of DUSP by sharing their professional experiences and research findings, and sometimes serve as guest lecturers. There is the option to complete a non-degree program or a one-year MS degree.

SPURS Fellows come from an extraordinary range of backgrounds and experiences. Over the past 45 years, more than 600 Fellows have come from over 90 countries. They are drawn from such varied fields as architecture, sociology, economics, government and business, or from any field in which there is a concern with problems of development. They are exposed to new theories and approaches from other Fellows, faculty, and other practitioners-ideas which they can later apply in their home countries.

For more information, please visit the SPURS web site:

SPURS Seminars

The American Planning Seminar Series and the International Development Seminars are two core components of the program. The SPURS Luncheon is offered every Monday at 12:15pm. The seminars bring to MIT each week distinguished scholars and practitioners to present and discuss recent ideas and projects in the areas of development. In addition, there is a multitude of seminars and presentations offered throughout MIT and Harvard.