Established in 1979 through an endowment from His Highness the Aga Khan, The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at MIT is dedicated to the study of Islamic architecture, urbanism, environmental and landscape design, and conservation.
Current DUSP Initiatives + Projects
Faculty and students in the Department are working across the country and around the globe on projects, related to both research and practice. The embedded publications below describe many of them, organized into five key themes. For additional details and more comprehensive listing of projects in the departmental, scroll down for a complete list.
The AgeLab invent new ideas and creatively translate technologies into practical solutions that improve people’s healthand enable them to “do things” throughout the lifespan. Equal to the need for ideas and new technologies is the belief that innovations in how products are designed, services are delivered, or policies are implemented are of critical importance to our quality of life tomorrow.
The Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) provides a home for faculty interested in collaborative research projects that will engage student participation. CAU is the umbrella for various existing research laboratories and faculty projects. It organizes collaborations between these labs and other MIT groups in order to foster a cross-disciplinary expertise.
MIT founded the Center for Real Estate (CRE) in 1983 to improve the quality of the built environment and to promote more informed professional practice in the global real estate industry. Educating the men and women whose innovations will serve the industry worldwide, the CRE is a home to the first-ever one year Master of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) degree, as well as an integrated suite of professional development courses.
The Changing Places group proposes that fundamentally new strategies must be found for creating the places where people live/work, and the mobility systems that connect these places, in order to meet the profound challenges of the future. We are developing technology to understand and respond to human activity, environmental conditions, and market dynamics.
The Civic Data Design Lab works with data to understand it for Public Good. We seek to develop alternative practices which can make the work we do with data and images richer, smarter, more relevant, and more responsive to the needs and interested of citizens traditionally on the margins of policy development.
The MIT Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) supports faculty and students to work with low-income and excluded people around the world, tapping their energy, creativity, and in-depth knowledge of the issues they face to tackle poverty, climate change, and mass urbanization. Launched in 2007, CoLab is a platform for faculty and student collaboration on field-based projects working with departments, laboratories, and centers across the Institute, supporting action research, while providing important resources to community leaders.
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.
Engineering System Division – Infrastructure and Transportation address the challenge of improving the effectiveness of national infrastructures, including those providing electric power, transport, and communications. ESD research in the domain of critical infrastructures include cross-domain views; comparative architecture and the factors affecting them; new models that include both the technical and social complexities; and new, large-scale simulation techniques allowing the combination of quantitative and qualitative data.
Originally created in 2005 with support from the U.S. Geologic Service (USGS), the Science Impact Collaborative is involved in an extended program of action-research aimed at testing the proposition that the right kind of stakeholder engagement in natural resource management (anywhere in the world) can improve the fairness, efficiency, stability and scientific wisdom of collective decisions made in the public arena.
Mobility Futures Collaborative's mission is to harness advanced mobile data acquisition technologies for deployment and operation in oft-unconsidered internation urban contexts with the intent of seeding such systems to local organizations designed to create a sustainable loop of data production and analysis.
Mobility Systems is a cross-cutting research and education initiative in DUSP, which takes an integrative trans-disciplinary approach, aiming to better understand the fundamental relationships between mobility and the built and social environments, and using that knowledge to create sustainable systems. We have a multi-scale perspective - designing and developing interventions for neighborhoods, cities, regions, and mega-regions – and work globally to derive practical mobility innovations.
The Organization for Permanent Modernity investigates operational templates of public form that integrate architecture, infrastructure, and landscape into elements of a lasting territorial order. Its hypothesis entails the possibility of a public reading of the territory through forms of permanence, while accommodating uncertainty and change within and around these interventions.
The Project for Reclamation Excellence, is a sustained effort to understand, represent and design reclaimed environments associated with large-scale natural resource extraction. P-REX addresses the challenges of landscape alteration through unique trans-disciplinary collaborations with engineers, economists, ecologists, geologists, and policy experts.
The SENSEable City Laboratory's research focuses on studying and predicting how digital technology is changing the way we describe, design, and occupy cities.
Interconnected computational elements are increasingly saturating the built environment (whether small-scale mobile devices, or larger-scale infrastructural microprocessors). This new condition allows us to design technology that could function as an interface between people and the city.
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.
The Urban Economics Lab at MIT focuses on studying economic activity and economic trends in cities. The Lab uses analytical models and big data to understand what makes cities thrive or decline, how housing values are formed and oscillate, and how local politics and social phenomena manifest in the context of increasing global urbanization.
The West Philadelphia Landscape Project (WPLP), founded in 1987, is an action research program that links community development and environmental restoration. Among the key discoveries of the project is the high correlation between buried floodplains and vacant land in inner city neighborhoods.