Planning Students in the Planning Office

The big “finding” here—which is actually not that remarkable when you stop to think about it—is that “academic” and “professional” planners live and work in different worlds, and have developed different worldviews as a result of their respective perspectives. In structuring and developing partnerships between academic and applied planning—whether single semester research projects, internships, or ongoing university/community efforts—we would be wise to pay attention to these differences to ensure success for all parties.

The Effects of Performance Measurement on Community Development Spending Priorities

Since 1974 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has administered the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to invest over $100B dollars in America's low-income communities, through housing, job creation, public services, and other community development projects.

acs.R: an R Package for Neighborhood-Level Data from the U.S. Census

Over the past decade, the U.S. Census Bureau has implemented the American Community Survey as a replacement for its traditional decennial “long-form” survey. This year—for the first time ever—ACS data was made available at the census tract and block group level for the entire nation, representing geographies small enough to be useful to local planners; in the future these estimates will be updated on a yearly basis, providing much more current data than was ever available in the past.

Career Development

There is a dedicated Career Resources Web site for the Department. This site (link below) is designed as a gateway to a variety of resources that provide career guidance to students in planning by combining best practice in career development with the unique requirements of the planning profession. It also provides services to alumni/ae to help them make informed decisions throughout the course of their career. In addition, the site supports employers in their recruiting efforts and offers them the opportunity to provide information about their organizations.

Designing with damaged land

A new website will be launched in September at that provides a layman’s portal to a wealth of information about the reclamation of abandoned mine sites in the United States. Designed for activists in communities with deserted mines, the website offers detailed guidance to communities on how to build assets out of these damaged landscapes.

Shrinking City Studio: Privatopolis

In February 2012, Brent Ryan's Shrinking City studio conducted research on 20 aspects of the East St. Louis region, including historical, geographical, and infrastructural phenomena. The flood plain conditions of the American Bottom formed the basis for our thinking about susceptibility of the site to pollution and flooding. Another dominating landscape feature of this region is its loss of physical infrastructure and population. We also noted the importance of the industrial legacy of the site, including an incredible rail network and a density of industrial polluters.

Lincolnopolis: Landscape Urbanization at the Interburban Frontier

According to Professor Alan Berger's "Culture Now" project, "The United States is a suburban nation and will likely remain so for many years. The expansion of the suburban population now forms a supermajority of the total U.S. metropolitan area population (62%). Despite this fact, urban pundits including 'planner and designer' biases still try to emulate 19th Century European compact city forms and mobility models for the American landscape. Antithetical to urbanist polemics, we know that critical characteristics of today's U.S.

The Future Olympic Village

The Olympics are a special time when the world comes together to celebrate the excitement of sport. But the planning, creation and operation of the games also gives us a rare opportunity to imagine what the city of tomorrow might have in store for us. For a new online project, MIT's SENSEable City Lab teamed up with GE to put forth a vision of what systems and technologies could grace the Future Olympic Village.

Reframing International Development

In April, 2012, students and faculty in the department held a two-day conference under the title "Reframing International Development." William Cobbett of the Cities Alliance provided opening remarks, and Antanas Mockus, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, presented a keynote address on "International Interdisciplinary Development." The conference also featured a number of panel discussions on both the history and future of international development.

To learn more about the event, see

Sanyal Named MacVicar Faculty Fellow

Four professors including DUSP's own Bish Sanyal have been named 2011 MacVicar Faculty Fellows for their outstanding undergraduate teaching, mentoring and educational innovation. In addition to Professor Sanyal, this year's honorees include Christopher Schuh, of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; and George Verghese and Patrick Winston, both of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.