Urban Citizens

Aristotle wrote that a city cannot be composed of people who are similar; it is a more complex environment. A city is composed of people who differ but who need one another. Our seminar explores what politics follow from urban complexity, and particularly about the roles modern technologies play in these politics.  

Infrastructure Systems in Theory and Practice

Examines theories of infrastructure from science and technology studies, history, economics, and anthropology in order to understand the prospects for change for many new and existing infrastructure systems. Examines how these theories are then implemented within systems in the modern city, including but not limited to, energy, water, transportation, and telecommunications infrastructure. Seminar is conducted with intensive group research projects, in-class discussions and debates.

Transportation Policy, the Environment, and Livable Communities

Examines the economic and political conflict between transportation and the environment. Investigates the role of government regulation, green business and transportation policy as a facilitator of economic development and environmental sustainability.

Cities of Contested Memory

This seminar explores relationships between built environments and memory. Memory is both a faculty for dealing with previous experiences and a social, economic, and political force that shapes the legacy of the past. Within the vast field of memory studies, this course will highlight the study of spaces and spatial practices in which the future of the past is imagined, negotiated, and contested.

Quantitative Reasoning and Statistical Methods for Planning I

Develops logical, empirically based arguments using statistical techniques and analytic methods. covers elementary statistics, probability, and other types of quantitative reasoning useful for description, estimation, comparison, and explanation. Emphasis on the use and limitations of analytical techniques in planning practice. Restricted to first-year MCP students. Students are required to attend one of the three scheduled recitation sections.

Prerequisites: permission of instructor

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: