Subjects

The Department offers many subjects for undergraduates and graduates alike. These are broken down into core, specialized and research subjects. Each year the Department offers 25 undergraduate and more than 90 graduate subjects of instruction from which each student designs, with faculty guidance, an individual program of study that matches his or her interests and experiences. 

Many of the courses developed by DUSP faculty are provided free to the public through MIT's Open CourseWare site.

Fall Conflict Chart

 

instructors
units
4-0-8U
schedule
MW (9:30-11:00) (4-237)
prerequisites
description

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.

instructors
units
3-0-9U
schedule
MW (3:00-4:30) (9-255)
prerequisites
description

Introduction to negotiation strategies through theory and practice. Emphasizes a "hands-on" personal skill-building approach underpinned by foundational and cutting-edge research. Applications in government, business, nonprofit, multicultural, and interpersonal settings are examined.

instructors
units
2-0-7U
schedule
T (2:00-4:00) (9-217)
prerequisites
description

Seminar on the history of institutions and institutional change in American cities from roughly 1850 to the present. Among the institutions to be looked at are political machines, police departments, courts, schools, prisons, public authorities, and universities. Focuses on readings and discussions.

instructors
units
2-0-7U
schedule
R (2:00-4:00) (9-217)
prerequisites
description

Seminar on the history of selected features of the physical environment of urban America. Among the features considered are parks, cemeteries, tenements, suburbs, zoos, skyscrapers, department stores, supermarkets, and amusement parks. Focuses on readings and discussions.

instructors
units
3-0-9 U
schedule
TR (3:30-5:00) (E51-057)
prerequisites
description

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.

instructors
Amy Smith
units
3-2-7U/G
schedule
MWF (3:30-5:00) (N51-310)
prerequisites
description

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.

instructors
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (56-154)
prerequisites
description

One of two introductory subjects on teaching and learning science and mathematics in a variety of K-12 settings. Topics include education and media, education reform, the history of education, simulations, games, and the digital divide.

instructors
Reen Gibb
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (4:00-5:30) (1-134)
prerequisites
description

Concentrates on core set of skills and knowledge necessary for teaching in secondary schools. Topics include classroom management, student behavior and motivation, curriculum design, educational reform, and the teaching profession. Classroom observation is a key component.

instructors
units
3-0-9U/G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30), F (1:30-2:30) (9-451, 9-451)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on financing tools and program models to support local economic development. Provides an overview of private capital markets and financing sources to understand capital market imperfections that constrain economic development, business accounting, financial statement analysis, federal economic development programs, and public finance tools.

instructors
Gregg Macey
units
3-0-9U
schedule
M (2:00-5:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Introduces frameworks for analyzing and addressing inequalities in the distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. Explores the foundations and principles of the environmental justice movement from the perspectives of social science, public policy, and law. Applies environmental justice principles to contemporary issues in urban policy and planning.

instructors
units
2-0-10 / HASS-S
schedule
W (2:00-4:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Provides a rigorous and critical introduction to the history, foundation, structure, and operation of the human rights movement. Focuses on key ideas, actors, methods and sources, and critically evaluates the field.

instructors
units
3-0-9U/G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Examines efforts in developing and advanced nations and regions. Examines key issues in the current and future development of urban energy systems, such as technology, use, behavior, regulation, climate change, and lack of access or energy poverty. Case studies on a diverse sampling of cities explore how prospective technologies and policies can be implemented.

instructors
TBA
units
4-1-7G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30), F (12:00-1:30) R01, F (1:30-3:00) R02, F (1:30-3:00) R03, F (3:00-4:30) R04, F (3:00-4:30) R05 (9-354, 9-450A (R01), 9-450A (R02), 9-450B (R03), 9-450A (R04), 9-451(R05))
prerequisites
description

Introduces the profession of urban and regional planning. Emphasizes the key sensibilities necessary for effective planning practice as well as professional writing and oral communication skills.

instructors
units
2-0-2G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30), H2, R (5:00-6:30) R01, R (6:30-8:00) R02, F (10:30-12:00) R03 (9-354, 9-450A (R01 & R02), 9-451 (R03))
prerequisites
description

Introduces applications of microeconomic theory to planning problems including urban form and structure, government's role in urban settings and problems of housing finance.

instructors
units
3-0-5G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30), H1 (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Introduces basic economic analysis for planning students including the functioning of markets, the allocation of scarce resources among competing uses, profit maximizing behavior in different market structures. Course illustrates theory with contemporary economic issues.

instructors
units
2-2-2G / H1
schedule
MW (2:30-4:00) Lecture, M,T,W,R (5:00-7:00) Lab (9-354, Lec, W31-301, Lab)
prerequisites
description

Practical introduction to spatial analysis and geographic information systems (GIS). Examines how geography is represented digitally and how nonrandom distributions of phenomena as diverse as poverty and scenic resources can be better understood by examining their spatial characteristics.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
T (9:30-12:30) (9-217)
prerequisites
description

Develops skills in research design for policy analysis and planning. Emphasizes the logic of the research process and its constituent elements. Topics include philosophy of science, question formulation, hypothesis generation and theory construction, data collection techniques (e.g. experimental, survey, interview), ethical issues in research, and research proposal preparation.

instructors
Dayna Cunningham, Katrin Kaeufer, Alison Coffey
units
3-0-3G
schedule
TR (5:00-6:30), Partial Term (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Introduction to the theory of action research and more generally to competing ideas about the uses of social research to promote social change.  Focus will be on the epistemological foundations for action research, knowledge generation in action research, the role of the “friendly outsider,” action science and organizational learning, participatory evaluation and arguments for

instructors
Erica James
units
3-0-9
schedule
F (2:00-5:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

An historical and cross-cultural study of the logics and practices of intervention: the ways that individuals, institutions, and governments identify conditions of need or states of emergency within and across borders that require a response.

instructors
units
2-0-1G
schedule
F (12:00-1:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Seminar dissects ten transportation studies from head to toe to illustrate how research ideas are initiated, framed, analyzed, evidenced, written, presented, criticized, revised, extended, and published, quoted and applied. Students design and execute their own transportation research. 

instructors
Julie Newman
units
3-0-9
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Explores the theory and application of the principles of sustainable development as they relate to organizational change management, decision-making processes, goal setting methodology and solution development. Leverages the MIT campus as a living laboratory to gain unique insight into the change management and solution development process. 

instructors
TBA
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Examines both the structure of cities and ways they can be changed. Includes historical forces that have produced cities, models of urban analysis, contemporary theories of urban design, implementation strategies. Core lectures supplemented by discussion sessions focusing on student work and field trips.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
M (2:00-5:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Examines the urban environment as a natural phenomenon, human habitat, medium of expression, and forum for action. Subject has two related, major themes: how ideas of nature influence the way cities are perceived, designed, built, and managed; and how natural processes and urban form interact and the consequences of these for human health safety and welfare. Enrollment limited. 

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
W (2:00-6:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

Explores photography as a disciplined way of seeing, or investigating urban landscapes and expressing ideas. Readings, observations, and photographs form the basis of discussions on light, detail, place, poetics, narrative, and how photography can inform design and planning. Enrollment limited.

instructors
units
4-2-9G
schedule
W (6:00-9:00), F (9:00-1:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

The Urban Design Skills course introduces urban planning students to methods for observing, interpreting, representing, and transforming the urban environment.

instructors
Alan Berger, Rafi Segal, Jonah Susskind
units
0-12-9G
schedule
TR (1:00-6:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

The design of urban environments. Strategies for change in large areas of cities, to be developed over time, involving different actors. Fitting forms into natural, man-made, historical, and cultural contexts; enabling desirable activity patterns; conceptualizing built form; providing infrastructure and service systems; guiding the sensory character of development.

instructors
John Kennedy
units
2-0-4 / H2
schedule
R (3:00-5:30) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Explains the role of the entrepreneur in the built environment using case studies to outline different steps in developing real estate, construction, architectural and related enterprises. Emphasizes strategic marketing and implementation of the plan in the development of these businesses. Addresses the progression of an idea, from an opportunity to a sustainable business.

instructors
units
3-0-6G
schedule
R (6:00-9:00) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Studies key issues of principal development- phase agreements, through the lens of the real estate developer, in connection with the site con- trol, entitlement, capitalization, and construction phases of a real estate development venture.

instructors
Jennifer Cookke
units
3-0-3G
schedule
T (11:00-12:30) (4-237)
prerequisites
description

Examines the fundamentals of real estate development products, including residential, hotel, office, research and development/lab, and retail uses. Includes faculty lectures, guest presentations, and field trips to local case study projects. Prepares MSRED candidates for the spring Real Estate Development Studio. Core requirement for MSRED candidates.

instructors
units
3-0-9G / PRACTICUM
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Seminar and fieldwork on strategies of planning and control for growth and land use, chiefly at the municipal level. Growth and its local consequences; land use planning approaches; implementation tools including innovative zoning and regulatory techniques, physical design, and natural systems integration. Projects arranged with small teams serving municipal clients.

instructors
Gregg Macey
units
3-0-9
schedule
M (2:00-5:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Introduces frameworks for analyzing and addressing inequalities in the distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. Explores the foundations and principles of the environmental justice movement from the perspectives of social science, public policy, and law. Applies environmental justice principles to contemporary issues in urban policy and planning.

instructors
Michael Golay
units
3-1-8G
schedule
TR (3:00-5:00), F (1:00) (32-155, 32-144)
prerequisites
description

Assessment of current and potential future energy systems. Covers resources, extraction, conversion, and end-use technologies, with emphasis on meeting 21st-century regional and global energy needs in a sustainable manner.

instructors
Janelle Knox-Hayes, Susan Solomon
units
3-0-9G
schedule
M (3:00-6:00) (54-1623)
prerequisites
description

Examines the role of science in the U.S. environmental policymaking process. Part I examines the methods by which scientists learn about the natural world; the treatment of science by experts, advocates, the media, and the public; and the way science is used in legislative, administrative and judicial decision making.

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
M (3:00-6:00) (8-205)
prerequisites
description

Examines the sociopolitical, cultural and economic dimensions of the financialization of environmental goods and services.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

 

instructors
units
2-0-7 / P/D/F
schedule
T (2:30-4:00), T (12:30-2:00) China Talk Series (9-451, 9-255)
prerequisites
description

Examines the behavioral foundations and key policy issues of urban development, real estate markets, and sustainability in China.

instructors
units
3-0-6G
schedule
MW (2:00-3:30) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on the connection (or not) between mind (theory) and matter (lived experience). Examines basic tenets of classical and recent political economic theories and their explication in ideas of market economies, centrally planned economies, social market economies, and co-creative economies.

instructors
units
3-0-9H
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Introduces a suite of tools representing the basic set of practices used in the development field. Presents a Wealth Creation framework that focuses on place, improving livelihoods, incentivizing collaboration, creating multiple forms of wealth, and promoting local ownership. Students work with web-based tools designed for use in a professional setting.

instructors
Gloria Schuck
units
3-0-3G / H1
schedule
MW (10:30-12:00) (9-357)
prerequisites
description

Designed to help students deepen their understanding of leadership and increase self-awareness. They examine authentic leadership styles and create goals and a learning plan to develop their capabilities. They also participate in activities to strengthen their "leadership presence" - the ability to authentically connect with people's hearts and minds.

instructors
units
4-0-8G
schedule
MW (4:00-5:30) Lec, M (5:30-7:00) Rec (4-163, 4-163)
prerequisites
description

Concepts and techniques for analyzing financial decisions in property development and investment. Topics: leasing and property income streams, pro forma analysis, equity valuation, tax analysis, options, risk, and the financial structuring of real property ownership.

instructors
units
4-0-8G
schedule
TR (1:00-2:30) Lec, M (9:00-10:30) Rec (9-354 Lec, 9-354 Rec)
prerequisites
description

Develops an understanding of the economic factors that shape and influence the markets for real property. Includes an analysis of housing as well as commercial real estate, and covers demographic analysis, regional growth, construction cycles, urban land markets and location theory. Exercises and modeling techniques for measuring and predicting property demand, supply, vacancy and prices.

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
MW (2:30-4:00) Lecture (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Provides an overview of affordable and mixed-income housing development for students who wish to understand the fundamental issues and requirements of urban scale housing development, and the process of planning, financing and developing such housing. Students gain practical experience assembling a mixed-income housing development proposal.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on financing tools and program models to support local economic development. Provides an overview of private capital markets and financing sources to understand capital market imperfections that constrain economic development, business accounting, financial statement analysis, federal economic development programs, and public finance tools.

instructors
Y. Tsipis
units
2-0-1 / First Half of Term
schedule
R (3:00-5:00) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Provides students with a concise overview of the range of building systems that are encountered in professional commercial real estate development practice in the USA.

instructors
W. Torous
units
3-0-6
schedule
MW (1:00-2:30) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Provides a rigorous introduction to the fundamentals of modern finance including valuation, risk analysis and investment decisions. Where possible, applications and examples drawn from real estate and mortgage markets.

instructors
Reinhard Goethert
units
3-0-9H
schedule
R (9:00-12:00) (3-329)
prerequisites
Permission of instructor
description

Examines dynamic relationship among key actors: beneficiaries, government, and funder. Emphasis on cost recovery, affordability, replicability, user selection, and project administration. Extensive case examples provide basis for comparisons. 

instructors
N. Ashford
units
3-0-9
schedule
W (4:00-6:30) (E51-376)
prerequisites
description

Investigates sustainable development, taking a broad view to include not only a healthy economic base, but also a sound environment, stable employment, adequate purchasing power, distributional equity, national self-reliance, and maintenance of cultural integrity.

instructors
R. Goethert
units
Arranged
schedule
W (5:00-6:30) (2-103)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Interdisciplinary projects and interactive practices in urban settlement issues as investigated by MIT's SIGUS (Special Interest Group in Urban Settlements), with a focus on developing countries throughout the world. Participation by guest practitioners. Additional work required of students taking the graduate version.

instructors
Amy Smith
units
3-2-7U/G
schedule
MWF (3:30-5:00) (N51-310)
prerequisites
description

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.

instructors
units
3-0-9U/G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Examines efforts in developing and advanced nations and regions. Examines key issues in the current and future development of urban energy systems, such as technology, use, behavior, regulation, climate change, and lack of access or energy poverty. Case studies on a diverse sampling of cities explore how prospective technologies and policies can be implemented.

instructors
units
2-0-10
schedule
W (2:00-4:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Provides a rigorous and critical introduction to the history, foundation, structure, and operation of the human rights movement. Focuses on key ideas, actors, methods and sources, and critically evaluates the field.

instructors
units
2-2-2G / H2
schedule
MW (2:30-4:00) Lecture, M,T,W,R (5:00-7:00) Lab (9-354, Lec, W31-301, Lab)
prerequisites
description

An introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) as applied to urban and regional planning, community development, and local government. Emphasis on learning GIS technology and spatial analysis techniques through extensive hands-on exercises using real-world data sets such as the US census of population and housing.

instructors
C. Osorio
units
3-1-8G
schedule
MW (3:00-4:30), F (10) Rec (1-135 Lec, 1-242 Rec)
prerequisites
description

Problem-motivated introduction to methods, models and tools for the analysis and design of transportation networks including their planning, operations and control. Capacity of critical elements of transportation networks. Traffic flows and deterministic and probabilistic delay models.

instructors
Moshe Ben-Akiva
units
3-1-8G
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) Lec, F (11:00-12:00) Rec (2-105 Lec, 2-105 Rec)
prerequisites
description

Covers the key principles governing transportation systems planning and management. Introduces the microeconomic concepts central to transportation systems. Topics include economic theories of the firm, consumer, and market, demand models, discrete choice analysis, cost models and production functions, and pricing theory.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

First subject in the Environmental Policy and Planning sequence. Reviews philosophical debates concerning growth and scarcity vs. deep ecology. Examines the ongoing policy debate concerning "command-and-control" vs. market-oriented approaches to regulation. Considers the debate regarding the importance of expertise vs. indigenous knowledge.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
Restricted to first-year MCP and SPURS students.
description

Studies interaction between planners and institutions at different scales, from local to global/transnational. Emphasizes a historical and institutional approaches to development planning. Includes an overview of theories of development, state, organizational arrangements, and implementation mechanisms.

instructors
units
3-0-3G
schedule
R (11:00-12:30) Seminar, W (12:30-2:00) Debate (9-450B (Seminar), 9-255 (Debate))
prerequisites
description

Brings together DUSP faculty and others to debate key issues in applied planning theory. Sessions focus on questions of livability, territoriality, governance, and reflective practice. Subject is required for first-year DUSP PhD candidates, but the six debate sessions are open to the full department community. 

instructors
Mary Jane Daly
units
3 / P/D/F
schedule
Arranged ()
prerequisites
description

Familiarizes students with the practice of planning, by requiring actual experience in professional internship placements. Requires students to both apply what they are learning in their classes in an actual professional setting and to reflect, using a variety of platforms, on the learning personal and professional - growing out of their internship experience.

instructors
Brent D. Ryan, Marie Law Adams, Lorena Bello Gomez
units
18 / PRACTICUM
schedule
TBA (TBA)
prerequisites
description

This planning and design workshop in India has four aims, which are outlined briefly below. Community housing in the coastal regions of western India face an expanding array of pressures, risks, and opportunities. Growth of towns and cities in coastal regions is increasing rapidly. The impact of growth on housing conditions and quality of life are major goals of communities in coastal Gujarat.

instructors
units
18 / PRACTICUM
schedule
F (12:00-3:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

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

instructors
Amy Glasmeier, Teresa Lynch
units
3-0-9G / PRACTICUM
schedule
W (2:00-5:00) (9-217)
prerequisites
description

The Life Sciences practicum will investigate the relationship between the elements of the Massachusetts life sciences complex and state policy designed to encourage its distributed growth and development. The convening client will be the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MSLC).

instructors
Bob Simha, Joost Bonsen
units
6
schedule
T (4:00-6:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

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.

instructors
units
2-0-7
schedule
M (3:30-5:00) (9-217)
prerequisites
description

In his seminal “Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography” (1955) Situationist founder Guy Debord called for a new field of inquiry, to be known as “psychogeography,” established to study “the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”

instructors
units
schedule
T (4:00-6:00) (9-217)
prerequisites
description

This is an advanced seminar which will analyze the effectiveness of developmental and planning theories from the perspective of practitioners who implement projects and policies based on such theories. The course will be organized around twelve implementation puzzles which should be considered for re-theorizing both developmental and planning processes.

instructors
Elisabeth Reynolds
units
3-0-9
schedule
M (2:00-5:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

Despite predictions about the globalization of innovative activities, they are still very much physically rooted and spatially clustered. As such, in the face of increased international competition for jobs, capital, and talent, cities, regions and countries have prioritized building and supporting innovation “ecosystems” to promote economic growth.

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
TR (2:00-3:30) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

Urban ecology can be distinguished from its natural systems counterpart by the integration of human cultural practices into the study of biological and geological systems.

instructors
units
1-3-2
schedule
TR (5:30-7:30), 10/17 - 11/16 (9-450B)
prerequisites
description
This mini-class provides a hands-on, "quick start" look at some of the methods and tools that help urban planners capitalize on the new world of ubiquitous urban sensing and pervasive computing. Translating the new data streams into useful urban analytics and a deeper understanding of activity patterns and sustainability issues is exciting but challenging.
instructors
units
3-0-3G
schedule
MW (9:30-11:00) (M 9-255, W 10-485, 9-217, 9-451)
prerequisites
description

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