Development Theory

This course in international development theory is aimed primarily at doctoral and advanced masters students. It is organized in two main parts. The first covers historical and theoretical perspectives at the core of International Development, from modernization and neo-classical theories to post-colonial and heterodox approaches. It is organized around the topics and materials that constitute the first field of the IDG general exam.

Housing Markets, Policy, and Social Stratification

Introduction to economic frameworks for analyzing and understanding housing outcomes, with a particular focus on the historical evolution of US housing policies and their effects on social stratification along (e.g.) lines of race and wealth. Explores the ways federal and local policy shape housing markets to reflect, reinforce, and occasionally combat broader social inequities. Provides a number of frameworks to understand household choices and constraints, neighborhood change and stasis, and the metropolitan markets in which households and groups interact.

A City is Not a Computer: Histories and Theories of the Computational City

Our lives in cities are governed by algorithms, threaded by apps, stored in clouds, and sensed, surveilled, and monitored by a densifying mesh of networked, autonomous observers. Our daily lives give off a thick mist of digital exhaust that can be captured, profiled, capitalized upon, and precisely located. Optimistically, advances in urban science, the rise of big data, the drive to build smarter cities, and the widespread embrace of the open data movement are coalescing into new opportunities for planners to make data actionable through analysis and visualization.

Thesis Prep

Required subject for MCP students. Monday lecture and Wednesday recitation required of all students.

Planning as a Tool for Inclusive Economic Development: Building Life Sciences Program and Policy Capabilities in Gateway Cities

The class is the second of three practica working with Massachusetts Life Science Corporation,
Mass Development, and individual city stakeholders to catalyze inclusive economic
development in Massachusetts Gateway Cities. Last year’s impactful and professionally
acknowledged class report enables us to continue to work with two Gateway Cities—Brockton
and Worcester--to develop implementation plans based on class findings and
recommendations. (The report can be accessed here:

TOD in Guadalajara

This practicum focuses on the development and implementation of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest metropolitan area. 

Understanding MIT

Understanding MIT is a special seminar on the challenges of designing & building research university campuses and crafting conditions for a supportive & vibrant learning community. We invite the senior academic, administrative, and trustee leadership of MIT to share with us what they do to help the Institute stay vital in the short, medium, and long term. Our focus includes not only on-campus and local town-gown relations, but also connections with our many increasingly global Institute constituencies, collaborators, and competitors.

Research Methods in Global Health and Development

Provides training for students to critically analyze the relationship between "health" and "development." Draws upon the theory and methods of medical anthropology, social medicine, public health, and development to track how culture, history, and political economy influence health and disease in global communities. Students work in teams to formulate research questions, and collect and analyze qualitative data in clinical and community settings in the greater Boston area, in order to design effective development interventions aimed at reducing health disparities in the US and abroad.

Entrepreneurial Negotiation

Combines online weekly face-to-face negotiation exercises and in-person lectures designed to empower budding entrepreneurs with negotiation techniques to protect and increase the value of their ideas, deal with ego and build trust in relationships, and navigate entrepreneurial bargaining under constraints of economic uncertainty and complex technical considerations. Students must complete scheduled weekly assignments, including feedback memos to counterpart negotiators, and meet on campus with the instructor to discuss and reflect on their experiences with the course.

Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Pollution Prevention and Control

Reviews and analyzes federal and state regulation of air and water pollution, hazardous waste, green-house gas emissions, and the production and use of toxic chemicals. Analyzes pollution as an economic problem and the failure of markets. Explores the role of science and economics in legal decisions. Emphasizes use of legal mechanisms and alternative approaches (such as economic incentives and voluntary approaches) to control pollution and encourage chemical accident and pollution prevention.