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 their interests and experiences. 

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

Fall 2020 Conflict Chart

 

instructors
units
3-0-9U
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (4-231)
prerequisites
description

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.

instructors
units
4-0-8U
schedule
TR (3:00-4:30), TBD R1, TBD R2, TBD R4, TBD R4 (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 theory and practice. Applications in government, business, and nonprofit settings are examined. Combines a "hands-on" personal skill-building orientation with a look at pertinent tactical and strategic foundations.

instructors
units
2-0-7U
schedule
R (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
T (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
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
Jinhua Zhao, John Moavenzadeh, Bill Aulet
units
3-3-6
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

This course is designed for students who aspire to shape the future of mobility. The course explores technological, policy, behavioral and systems-wide frameworks for innovation in transportation systems, complemented with case studies across the mobility spectrum, from autonomous vehicles to urban air mobility to last-mile sidewalk robots.

instructors
units
2-4-6
schedule
F (10:00-12:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

The Cybersecurity Clinic provides an opportunity for MIT students to become certified in methods of assessing the vulnerability of public agencies (particularly agencies that manage critical urban infrastructure) to the risk of cyberattack.  Certification involves completing an 8 hour self-paced online set of four modules during the first four weeks of the semester.

instructors
units
3-6-3U
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (4-149)
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) (56-167)
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
4-0-8U/G
schedule
MW (2:00-3:30) (9-450)
prerequisites
description

How do you help promote good economic development and housing production? This class teaches financing tools and program models to support local economic development and housing. It provides an overview of public and private capital markets and financing sources to understand market imperfections that constrain economic and housing development.

instructors
C. Wilder
units
3-0-9
schedule
W (2:00-5:00) (66-160)
prerequisites
description

Provides an in-depth look at a modern institution of oppression: the ghetto. Uses literature to examine ghettoization over time and across a wide geographical area, from Jews in Medieval Europe to African-Americans and Latinos in the 20th-century United States. Also explores segregation and poverty in the urban "Third World."

instructors
units
1-3-2
schedule
F (11:00-12:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

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.

instructors
units
2-0-10 / HASS-S
schedule
W (3-5) (9-450A)
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) (9-450)
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
3-3-6U
schedule
MW (2:30-4:00), TH (11:00-2:00) Lab (9-354, W31-301 Lab)
prerequisites
description

An introduction to the research and empirical analysis of urban planning issues using geographic information systems. Extensive hands-on exercises provide experience with various techniques in spatial analysis and querying databases.

instructors
units
4-1-7G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30), F (12:00-1:30) R01, F (12:00-1:30) R02, F (1:30-3:00) R03, F (3:00-4:30) R04 (37-212, 9-450A (R01), 5-231 (R02), 9-450A (R03), 9-450 (R04))
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
2-2-2G / 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
4-2-6G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30), R (5:00-6:30) Recitation , R (6:30-8:00) Recitation , F (12:00-1:30) Recitation (4-237 (Lecture), 9-450A, 9-450A, 10-401)
prerequisites
Restricted to first-year MCP students or Permission of instructor
description

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.

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, Antonio Moya-Latorre, Natalia Vidigal Coachman
units
2-0-4G
schedule
TR (5:00-6:30), H1 (9-451)
prerequisites
description

This course introduces students to Participatory Action Research (PAR), an approach to research and inquiry that enables communities to examine and address consequential societal problems.

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
T (9:30-12:30) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

This subject examines how the development of the built environment produces and reproduces conceptions of race—sociobiological theories of human difference.

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

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.

instructors
units
2-4-6
schedule
F (10:00-12:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

The Cybersecurity Clinic provides an opportunity for MIT students to become certified in methods of assessing the vulnerability of public agencies (particularly agencies that manage critical urban infrastructure) to the risk of cyberattack.  Certification involves completing an 8 hour self-paced online set of four modules during the first four weeks of the semester.

instructors
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
2-0-1G
schedule
W (2:30-4:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

This seminar will study how the messy and complex forces of politics, planning and the real estate market have collectively shaped Boston’s urban fabric and skyline in the last two decades.

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
F (9:00-1:00), W (6:00-9:00) (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) (STUDIO)
prerequisites
11.328 or prior design degree
description

This studio course brings architecture and planning students together develop visionary design proposals for complex urban environments.

instructors
John Kennedy
units
2-0-4 / H2
schedule
M (2:00-4:00) (9-451)
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
M (9:00-12:00) (9-354)
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
MW (4:00-5:30) (9-450)
prerequisites
description

Seminar, workshops and fieldwork on strategies to use municipal land use regulations to shape urban growth and equity. The practicum workshop builds skills in civic engagement, policy-relevant research, zoning regulations, and physical design and planning.

instructors
Michael Golay
units
3-1-8G
schedule
TR (3:00-5:00), F (3:00-4:00) (32-155, 24-115)
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
John Deutch, Maria Zuber
units
2-0-4
schedule
MR (9:30-11:00) (4-370)
prerequisites
description

Familiarizes students with the potential contributions and risks of using geoengineering technologies to control climate damage from global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Discusses geoengineering in relation to other climate change responses:  reducing emissions, removing CO2 from the atmosphere, and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

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

Provides a critical introduction to the shape and determinants of political, social, and economic inequality in urban America. Analyzes the historical, political, and institutional contexts of housing and community development policy in the U.S., including federalism and the structure of public financing and local governments. Reviews major themes in U.S.

instructors
Gloria Schuck
units
3-0-3G / H1
schedule
W (9:00-12:00) (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) L, M (5:30-7:00) R1 (9-354, 9-354 R1)
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) L, T (4:00-5:30) R (9-354)
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
4-0-8U/G
schedule
MW (2:00-3:30) (9-450)
prerequisites
description

How do you help promote good economic development and housing production? This class teaches financing tools and program models to support local economic development and housing. It provides an overview of public and private capital markets and financing sources to understand market imperfections that constrain economic and housing development.

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 (12:30-2:00) L, W (6:00-7:00) R (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
TR (11:00-12:30) (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
Bish Sanyal, Amy Smith
units
3-2-7U/G
schedule
MW (3:30-5:00), F (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
Susan Murcott
units
3-0-9
schedule
W (12:00-3:00) (N51-310)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on disseminating water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) innovations in developing countries, especially among underserved communities. Structured around field-based learning, case studies, lectures and videos. Emphasis on core WASH principles, culture-specific solutions, appropriate and sustainable technologies, behavior change, social marketing and building partnerships.

instructors
units
3-0-9U/G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) (9-450)
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 (3-5) (9-450A)
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
Jinhua Zhao, John Moavenzadeh, Bill Aulet
units
3-3-6
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

This course is designed for students who aspire to shape the future of mobility. The course explores technological, policy, behavioral and systems-wide frameworks for innovation in transportation systems, complemented with case studies across the mobility spectrum, from autonomous vehicles to urban air mobility to last-mile sidewalk robots.

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

Studies the history, policy, practice and politics of urban transportation.

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

Required introductory subject for graduate students pursuing environmental policy and planning as their specialization in the MCP Program. Also open to other graduate students interested in environmental ethics, environmental dispute resolution, environmental justice and techniques of environmental impact assessment and risk assessment.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-450)
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 Debate schedule TBD (9-217 (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
units
1-1-1
schedule
W (1:00-3:00) (E14-140L)
prerequisites
description

Introduces principal issues in the field of advanced urbanism for discussion and exploration. Includes theoretical linkages between ideas about the culture of cities, processes of urbanization, and urban design. Involves events co-organized by faculty and doctoral students to further engage and inform research.

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. Enables 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
units
3-0-3
schedule
T R (3:30-5:00) (9-450)
prerequisites
description

This course introduces computational thinking and applied data science practice related to urban domain. Students learn principles, tools, and techniques of using data for urban problem-solving through hands-on exercises in Python.

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
M (2:00-5:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

This class examines the recent turn toward the financialization of basic municipal services, assets, and infrastructures.  After much criticism of the impacts of full-out privatization of these local-level provisions in the late twentieth- and early turn of the twenty-first century across lower-income cities especially, public sector officials in both high- and low-income countries have express

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
T (2:00-5:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

When looking upon gentrification, our vision depends on our vantage. New residents may see an affordable rent. Existing residents may see displacement. Developers may see profit opportunities. City officials may see a balanced budget. Academics may not see much, as data and measurement imprecisions kaleidoscope the truth.

instructors
Dayna Cunningham, Katrin Kaeufer
units
3-0-3
schedule
T (5:00-8:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

The US today is one of the wealthiest societies in human history. It’s wealth is derived from centuries of extraction and exploitation via genocide of First Nations, enslavement of Africans and colonial conquest in Latin America and elsewhere. The great wealth amassed through these means has generated tremendous racialized inequality.

instructors
Ezra Haber Glenn, Gil Kneale
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
2-0-1
schedule
T (2:30-4) (5-231)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Seminar dissects a couple of applied urban and environmental economics studies from head to toe, to illustrate how to form and refine a research idea, how to conduct an observational or an experimental study, how to write up a paper and present it, how to go through the journal submission and revision process, and finally get the paper published and cited.

instructors
units
2-0-1
schedule
F (10:00-12:00) (9-450)
prerequisites
description

This limited enrollment seminar engages students in preparing for their own grounded research projects around “equity” in the infrastructure space.  It helps students prepare for grounded field-research domestically or internationally by first introducing students to different analytical constructs of equity (and debates therein) within published empirical research and in political philosophy a

instructors
units
3-0-3G
schedule
M (9:30-11:00) (M 9-255)
prerequisites
description

Required subject for MCP students

instructors
units
3-0-9U
schedule
F (12:00-3:00) (9-217)
prerequisites
description

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.