Common Ground for Common Good: Mediating Private Development with Public Planning

This four-part seminar will review and examine the dynamic interaction of private and public interests that have shaped some of the most important real estate development proposals in Boston in the last two decades. Through specific case studies, the course will focus on understanding Boston’s public development review and permitting process and will explore what it takes beyond a sound financial pro forma to get a building project through the community process and to earn political support and approval from the city.

Comparative Land Use and Transportation Planning

Focuses on the integration of land use and transportation planning, drawing from cases in both industrialized and developing countries. Reviews underlying theories, analytical techniques, and the empirical evidence of the land use-transportation relationship at the metropolitan, intra-metropolitan, and micro-scales. Also covers the various ways of measuring urban structure, form, and the "built environment." Develops students' skills to assess relevant policies, interventions and impacts.

Advanced Seminar in Landscape and Urbanism

This workshop explores the relationships between landscape, ecology, and urbanism, and the theories, tactics, and workings of the field of Landscape Urbanism.  Topics will vary from year to year as Landscape Urbanism evolves. This year we question Landscape Urbanism’s ability to deal with issues of resiliency and climate change adaptation. At the front lines of coastal vulnerability are sites built on reclaimed land.

Oppositional Consciousness and Social Change

This seminar seeks to engage and build students’ oppositional consciousness in the service of imaginative and radical political, social and economic change. We will begin with two introductory sessions considering the relationships between structural violence and identity, and oppositional consciousness and futurity.

Urban Design Politics

Examines ways urban design contributes to distribution of political power and resources in cities. Investigates the nature of relations between built form and political purposes through close study of a wide variety of situations where public sector design commissions and planning processes have been clearly motivated by political pressures. Lectures and discussions focus on specific case studies of 20th-century government-sponsored designs carried out under diverse regimes in the US, Europe, and elsewhere.

Negotiation and Dispute Resolution in the Public Sector

Investigates social conflict and distributional disputes in the public sector. While theoretical aspects of conflict and consensus building are considered, focus is on the practice of negotiation and dispute resolution. Comparisons between unassisted and assisted negotiation are reviewed along with the techniques of facilitation and mediation.

Urban Sociology in Theory and Practice

Introduction to core writings in urban sociology. Examines key theoretical paradigms that have comprised the field since its founding. Explores the nature and changing character of the city and the urban experience in the US and abroad, providing context for development and application of planning skills and sensibilities as well as urban research. Topics include the changing nature of community, social inequality, culture, political power, socio-spatial change, technological change, and the relationship between the built environment and human behavior.

Infrastructure Systems in Theory and Practice

Seminar focused on understanding how theories of infrastructure are common to many systems that make up the modern city, including energy, water, transportation, and telecommunications; and how these theories and infrastructures are implemented in practice. Theories from technology studies, history, and economics examined in order to understand the prospects for change for many new and existing infrastructure systems. Class requires active student reading, presentation, and participation.

Transportation Research Design: How Are Ideas Born?

This seminar dissects ten projects from head to toe to illustrate how research ideas are initiated, framed, analyzed, evidenced, written, presented, criticized, revised, extended, and hopefully published, quoted and applied! In parallel the course engages students in designing and executing their own transportation research. This class meets at the same time as the weekly seminar of JTL - the MIT Urban Mobility Lab (

Crowd Sourced City

Investigates the use of social medial and digital technologies for planning and advocacy by working with actual planning and advocacy organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate prototype digital tools. Students use the development of their digital tools as a way to investigate new media technologies that can be used for planning.