Spring 2014

Semester Start Date: 
Monday, January 27, 2014

Boston’s Urban Wilds: The Persistence of an Idea Over Time

Many city natural areas programs are constricted due to limited resources for the acquisition and management of land. Boston’s urban wilds offer an alternative model for the protection of urban open space that focuses on decentralized advocacy and activism rather than on a centralized city program. Caroline Bird's (MCP '14) thesis analyzed the forty-year history of the urban wilds, investigating how the idea first captured people’s attention and how advocates have kept it relevant over time in the face of political, economic, and social changes.

Designing Indian Streets as Social Public Spaces - Contextual design and planning in Bangalore

Sneha Mandhan's (MCP '14) thesis explored how streets in India have traditionally been the public spaces around which social life has revolved. They constitute the urban public realm where people congregate, celebrate and interact. The hypothesis that forms the basis of this thesis is that there is a need to understand and design these urban streets as living corridors through which one perceives and understands the city, and the places where one has daily social encounters.

A Planning Paradigm for Electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Tanzania

Sarah Dimson (MCP '14) investigated electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa, where a lack of clean electricity generation sources, poor electricity access and low levels of electricity consumption are profoundly stifling sustainable development.  This thesis presents a specialized investigation, in context of Tanzania, of the primary paradigmatic approaches to electrification – centralized, large-scale grid systems conceived through least-cost-planning; and decentralized, small-scale off-grid systems administered through entrepreneurial pilots.

Redefining the Typology of Land Use In the Age of Big Data

Liqun Chen (MCP '14) thesis concludes that land use classification is important as a standard for land use description and management.  However, current land use classification systems are problematic. Labels such as “residential use” and “commercial use” do not fully reveal how the land use is used in terms of function, mix use and changes over time. As a result, land use planning is often a natural prompt of segregation; Land use is poorly connected with other fields of urban studies such as transportation and energy consumption.

In the News: IKEA to Use MIT Living Wage Calculator

Data from the MIT "Living Wage Calculator" show the gap between the cost of living modestly in the US and the minimum and poverty wage rates. Amy Glasmeier, professor of economic geography and regional planning, began developing the calculator a decade ago while studying the causes of recurrent poverty. Besides contributing data to discussions on raising the minimum wage, the tool and Glasmeier’s comments in Slice of MIT illustrate why higher wages help everybody.

Innovating the City: Challenges and Opportunities in Establishing Incubators and Districts in Paris and Boston

Karen Johnson's (MCP '14) thesis discovered that all over the world, local leaders are leveraging high-tech industry in their economic development strategies. Cities are encouraging the clustering of industries in specific sectors such as manufacturing, innovation, technology, and advanced services. In this effort to leverage distinctive strengths there has been a movement in cities to seed entrepreneurship as part of broader innovation and industial strategies.

"Places in the Making" to be used for NeighborWorks America training curriculum

Lead author Susan Silberberg is pleased to announce that the DUSP whitepaper “Places in the Making: How placemaking builds places and communities” is to be included in training materials for community development professionals and activists. The NeighborWorks America Training Institute provides training to thousands of community development professionals and activists every year.

Boston's Urban Wilds

Many city natural areas programs are constricted due to limited resources for the acquisition and management of land. Boston’s urban wilds offer an alternative model for the protection of urban open space that focuses on decentralized advocacy and activism rather than on a centralized city program. This thesis analyzed the forty-year history of the urban wilds, investigating how the idea first captured people’s attention and how advocates have kept it relevant over time in the face of political, economic, and social changes.

Innovating the City: Challenges and Opportunities in Establishing Incubators and Districts in Paris and Boston

All over the world, local leaders are leveraging high-tech industry in their economic development strategies. Cities are encouraging the clustering of industries in specific sectors such as manufacturing, innovation, technology, and advanced services. In this effort to leverage distinctive strengths there has been a movement in cities to seed entrepreneurship as part of broader innovation and industial strategies. This thesis takes a qualitative approach to investigating the opportunities and challenges in creating and establishing innovation clusters in two cities: Paris and Boston.

Kelly Heber A Finalist in Fish Hackathon

Kelly Heber, a DUSP PhD student working with the Science Impact Collaborative, and Iain Dunning, a PhD student in MIT Operations Research were finalists in the State Department’s 2014 Our Ocean Conference fisheries data competition known as the “Fish Hackathon.”

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