Spring 2014

Semester Start Date: 
Monday, January 27, 2014

Caitlin Cameron (MCP 2012) Wins DUSP Excellence in Public Service Award

At the Annual Commencement Breakfast and Awards Ceremony for 2013-2014, the Department of Urban Studies and Planning was pleased to name Caitlin Cameron (MCP 2012) as the winner of this year's Excellence in Public Service Award.

The prize was established in 1999 to encourage graduates from MIT's Master in City Planning program who choose to pursue public service careers, and to recognize outstanding public service achievements by recent MCP graduates. Winners received up to $10,000 to reduce outstanding education debt.

Kelly Heber Awarded the Venture Hive Virtual Accelerator Prize

Captured, a tool created by Kelly Heber and Ian Dunning, was awarded the Venture Hive Virtual Accelerator Prize at the 2014 US Department of State sponsored Fish Hackathon, that ran concurrently with the Our Oceans 2014 Conference convened by Secretary John Kerry. The prize includes three months of financial support from Venture Hive as well as consulting assistance to develop product goals and longterm strategy.

Extracting the Economic Benefits of Natural Resources in the Marcellus Shale Region

Sarah Lynn Hess' (MCP'14) thesis seeks to explore the challenge of value capture from natural resources using the case of the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia and Pennsylvania as an exemplar. She examines the mechanisms in place to capture the economic benefits of shale gas extraction in these two states, performing a rough cost benefit analysis that attempts to quantify the economic impact of a single natural gas well drilled in each state.

Monkey See, Monkey Do: Establishing New Real Estate Development Frameworks for the Land Optioning and Assembly Process in Singapore

Development projects ultimately create places in the built environment. As such, the developer should be concerned with the quality of spaces they create for those in the community to interact within. For this reason, a structural framework should be established to allow developers to understand the needs of the various communities in which they develop. The focus of Lawrence Bernard's (MCP'14) thesis is not upon traditional notions of community engagement, which is primarily focused on short-term decisions and development implications.

SENSEable City Study of Commuting Times

How much commuting can you tolerate? A new study by DUSP researchers shows that across countries, people assess their commutes by the time it takes them to complete the trip, generally independent of the distance they have to travel — as long as they have a variety of commuting options to chose from.
The study, which compares commuting practices in five locations on four continents, also demonstrates the methodological validity of using mobile phone data to create an accurate empirical picture of commuting.

Playing in Place: What Planners can Learn from Play

Gary Chan's (MCP '14) thesis examines play in the context of planning and place, arguing for play as a component of public participation practice. Public participation, though an integral part of Western contemporary planning practice, is largely viewed as lacking by academics, planning practitioners, and the public at large.

New Urban Manufacturing: Neo-Industrial Design in Louisville, Kentucky

Christopher Rhie's (MCP/MSRED '14) thesis found that American manufacturing is experiencing a modest renaissance. U.S. firms are choosing to re-shore manufacturing jobs not out of their sense of patriotism, but because it makes good business sense. The costs of transportation and overseas labor are increasing, opening the door for domestic production. Political leaders are embracing the prospects for skilled, living wage jobs: President Obama has made manufacturing one of the central tenets of his economic recovery plan.

New SPURS Newsletter

DUSP's Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) has issued the 2014 edition of their group newsletter, including updates from the Director, coverage of the Abdulaziz Alkhedheiri Leadership Seminar and SPURS's collaboration with Roxbury Community College, an artlcle on Mobility Management in China, and more.  Click the link in the sidebar to download.

Planning for Simultaneous Transience and Stability: Neighborhood Transformations in Nabaa, Beirut

Nabaa is one of the most marginalized neighborhoods of Beirut; it is abandoned by the public authorities and therefore lacks basic service provision. Due to its own history and to larger sociopolitical events impacting it, Nabaa has become home to a nationally, ethnically and religiously mixed population. The purpose of Tania El Alam's (MCP'14) thesis is to conceptualize urban planning in the context of population transience. It uncovers how communities negotiate their differences and diversities in their everyday life.

Chinese Gated Community: degree of openness and the social impacts

Rong Chen's (MCP '14) thesis looks at the rise of contemporary gated communities in China- only gaining prominence over the past two decades, since the Housing Reform and market economy. Research on this field mainly criticizes Chinese gated community on their negative social impacts by directly borrowing arguments from the studies of Western gated communities, especially from the US counterparts. However, the socioeconomic connotation attached to gated communities in the US is not necessarily applicable to gating in the Chinese cases.