SENSEable Study Looks at Building Occupancy and Energy Use

Many workplaces feature major changes in occupancy over the course of a week. In academic buildings, hundreds of students may pour in for a lecture, then leave an hour or two later, while faculty, researchers and staff can enter and exit in irregular patterns. In commercial structures, workers may come and go en masse during short time periods during the day. As a result, energy use in virtually all workspaces can rapidly become inefficient -- too large or too small -- in relation to the number of people inside.

Alan Berger Named to Harvard University Center for the Environment

DUSP Professor Alan Berger was recently named a Faculty Associate of Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE). The Center draws faculty members and students from across the University and beyond who make up a remarkable intellectual community of scholars, researchers, and teachers of diverse fields including chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, engineering and applied sciences, biology, public health and medicine, government, business, economics, religion, and the law.

Students Win APA Economic Development Scholarship

Three DUSP students -- Seema Adina, Kira Intrator, and Lindsay Reul, all second-year MCPs -- are the joint winners of the American Planning Association Economic Development Division's 2012 Graduate scholarship, for their paper "Wealth Creation Through Sustainable Forestry: Generating Wealth Creation Models in the Appalachian Wood Products Industry." Their paper combines analysis of value chain and supply chain to identify strategies that would capture environmental and economic benefits for communities.

Why Cutting-Edge Medical Technology May Not Lead to Exploding Health Care Costs

A new study published in August issue of Health Affairs, co-authored by DUSP Professor Frank Levy, finds that the growth of sophisticated medical imaging technology has slowed, suggesting that the diffusion of technology does not necessarily lead to steadily increasing health care costs. The story is featured on the MIT News page: see

Three New Faculty Members Join DUSP

Over the past year DUSP conducted its largest faculty search in recent memory. As a result, we are delighted to report that this fall we will be welcoming three new faculty members to our department.

Addressing Climate Change Risk Through Role Play Simulations

The Science Collaborative Program of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (a partnership of NOAA and the coast states) has awarded a two-year, $637,000 grant to MIT and the Consensus Building Institute (CBI). The funds will be used to help build the capacity of coastal communities to address climate change risk.



While the intellectual life of the Department is organized around particular program groups, and students are asked to select an area of specialization, there is a great deal of room for cross-over and flexibility in individual student programs. There are four areas of specialization (also called Program Groups), which reflect major types of planning practice:


The first decade of the Twenty-First Century has seen dramatic shifts in our global urbanized environments and cities. Developed countries have experienced rapid urbanization around their edges and deindustrialization in their cores, which are challenging historical models of city form and function. In the United States alone there is a record amount of blighted and vacant land surface available in urbanized areas that needs to be reimagined and retrofitted for productive uses.


The undergraduate program offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science (SB) major designed to prepare students for careers in both the public and private sectors. The major also provides a foundation for students intending to do graduate work in law, public policy, development, urban design, management, and planning. The subjects in the major teach students the ways in which the tools of economics, policy analysis, political science, and design can be brought to bear on critical social and environmental problems in the US and abroad.

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