Reclaiming The American West

There are over 200,000 abandoned mines covering hundreds of thousands of acres in the western United States. Seen from the air, they create surreal, haunting, yet somehow beautiful landscapes of mind-boggling scale. But these scarred landscapes are only temporary: by law, mining companies are required to reclaim them, and the process of renewal exposes many physical, philosophical, technological, environmental, political, regulatory, and ethical issues.

$25M to Establish New USAID program

MIT will receive up to $25 million in funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of a new five-year project intended to fight poverty by developing and evaluating useful technologies for communities around the globe.

“People here really care about doing something for the world’s poor,” says Bish Sanyal, the Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning in DUSP, who is one of the leaders of the Institute’s participation in the project.

Playing Games with the Budget: ideas for emphasizing the legislative elements of budget-making through an online multiplayer toy

Since the late 1980s, planners and researchers have explored---and generally touted---the use of participatory budget processes to educate and engage stakeholders; participatory budgeting has been celebrated for its potential to improve participation and the legitimacy of government decisions, and may even hold promise to deliver the "collective intelligence" benefits of "crowdsourcing." In a related vein, recent public, media, and educational projects have built on an established tradition of planning and policy games and "serious play"---including role-playing games, scenario planning exe

NYT: OP-ED Illogical Housing Aid

OP-ED CONTRIBUTORS: Illogical Housing Aid

By Yonah Freemark and Lawrence J. Vale 

Published: October 30, 2012

Cambridge, MASS

The tax deduction for mortgage interest may not quite be the “third rail” of politics that Social Security is, but politicians on both sides have long been afraid to touch it. So when Mitt Romney recently floated the idea of capping this deduction, Democrats pounced.

Affordable housing and upward mobility : bridging the divide at The Community Builders, Inc.

Daniel Yadegar's (MCP '12) this explored an increasing austerity at all levels of government has propelled a heightened focus on more efficient models of housing delivery, human service delivery and community development. One area of increased attention, with minimal empirical research, remains the integration of these three arenas. While the integration of such fields has been proposed conceptually for at least twenty years, there is little record of the challenges faced through integration or the proven benefits of such a model.

Designing an integrated waterfront : responsive redevelopment at the Philadelphia Navy Yard

Elizabeth Woods' (MCP '12) thesis explored that over the past half-century, the physical form and primary purpose of the American urban waterfront has profoundly changed. Due to the combined forces of de-industrialization, globalization, and military restructuring, urban waterfronts have transformed from industrial and manufacturing employment centers to tourist destinations, passive recreation areas, and luxury residential and corporate office districts.

Design against nature : flooding, water supply, and public space in Los Angeles

Max Thelander's (MCP '12) thesis found that starting in the late 19th century, Southern California saw the first of several waves of explosive population growth that have resulted in today's mega-region. While many early settlers were attracted by the city's famous sunshine, the surging population exceeded locally-available water supplies early on. Los Angeles responded by building a vast system of aqueducts to appropriate waters from across the West.