Thesis Research Design Seminar

Designed for students writing a thesis in Urban Studies and Planning or Architecture. Develop research topics, review relevant research and scholarship, frame research questions and arguments, choose an appropriate methodology for analysis, and draft introductory and methodology sections.

Urban and Environmental Technology Implementation Lab

Real-world clients and environmental problems form the basis of a project in which teams of students develop strategies for analysis and implementation of new sensor technology within cities.  Working closely with a partner or client based on the MIT campus or in Cambridge, students assess the environmental problem, implement prototypes, and recommend promising solutions to the client for implementation. Equipment and working space provided.

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.

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.

Global Energy: Politics, Markets, and Policy

Focuses on the ways economics and politics influence the fate of energy technologies, business models, and policies around the world. Extends fundamental concepts in the social sciences to case studies and simulations that illustrate how corporate, government, and individual decisions shape energy and environmental outcomes. In a final project, students apply the concepts in order to assess the prospects for an energy innovation to scale and advance sustainability goals in a particular regional market. Recommended prerequisite: 14.01. Meets with 15.219 when offered concurrently.

Shanghai and China's Modernization

Considers the history and function of Shanghai, from 1840 to the present, and its rise from provincial backwater to international metropolis. Examines its role as a primary point of economic, political, and social contact between China and the world, and the strong grip Shanghai holds on both the Chinese and foreign imagination. Students discuss the major events and figures of Shanghai, critique the classic historiography, and complete an independent project on Shanghai history.

Introduction to Urban Design and Development

Examines the evolving structure of cities and the way that cities, suburbs, and metropolitan areas can be designed and developed. Surveys the ideas of a wide range of people who have addressed urban problems. Stresses the connection between values and design. Demonstrates how physical, social, political and economic forces interact to shape and reshape cities over time.

Making Public Policy

Examines how the struggle among competing advocates shapes the outputs of government. Considers how conditions become problems for government to solve, why some political arguments are more persuasive than others, why some policy tools are preferred over others, and whether policies achieve their goals. Investigates the interactions among elected officials, think tanks, interest groups, the media, and the public in controversies over global warming, urban sprawl, Social Security, health care, education, and other issues.

D-Lab: Development

Issues in international development, appropriate technology and project implementation addressed through lectures, case studies, guest speakers and laboratory exercises. Students form project teams to partner with community organizations in developing countries, and formulate plans for an optional IAP site visit. (Previous field sites include Ghana, Brazil, Honduras and India.) Recitation sections focus on specific project implementation, and include cultural, social, political, environmental and economic overviews of the target countries as well as an introduction to the local languages.