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 Graduate Conflict Chart

Please note the following subjects with special schedules:

Partial Term, 1st six weeks of term:

11.236 The Theory of Participatory Action Research (PAR),
11.S950 Applied Spatial Data Analysis with GeoDa/PySAL
11.S952 Neighborhood Planning & Design

Specific Dates:

11.S955 New Geographies of Theory: Urbanism and Planning in the 21st Century
9/23, 9/25, 9/30, 10/2

11.910 Planning Ideas That Matter
Seminar (for 1st-year DUSP PhDs) meets Sept. 11, 25; October 9, 23, and November 6, 20

instructors
Chris Warshaw, Leah Stokes
units
4-0-8U
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) (56-114)
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
2-0-7U
schedule
T (11:00-1:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

Explores the evolution of poverty and economic security in the U.S. within a global context. Examines the impacts of recent economic restructuring and globalization. Reviews current debates about the fate of the middle-class, sources in increasing inequality, and approaches to advancing economic opportunity and security.

instructors
units
2-0-7U
schedule
W (2:00-4:00) (10-401)
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
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (2:00-3:30) (4-253)
prerequisites
description

Readings and discussions focusing on a series of short-term events that shed light on American politics, culture, and social organization. The events studied in 2006 were the Boston Tea Party of 1773; the crisis at Boston over the case of Anthony Burns, an escaped slave, in 1854; the Homestead strike of 1892; and the student uprisings at Columbia University in 1968.

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
Greg Schwanbeck
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
Karen R. Polenske
units
3-0-9U/G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Examines efforts in developing and advanced nations and regions to create, finance, and regulate infrastructure and energy technologies from a variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives. Explores how an energy crisis can be an opportunity for making fundamental changes to improve collapsing infrastructure technologies.

instructors
Jim Buckley
units
4-1-7G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-354)
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 (9-354)
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
3-0-9G
schedule
M (3:00-6:00) (9-450A)
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
Lawrence Susskind, Dayna Cunnigham
units
3-0-3G
schedule
MW (4:30-6:00), Partial Term (9-417)
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 argument

instructors
John Kennedy
units
2-0-4H / 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
3-0-6
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
units
3-0-3G
schedule
T (3:30-5:00) (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
0-0-3H
schedule
()
prerequisites
description

Introduces the culture, economy, politics, geography, ecology and history of Malaysia before traveling to the region during IAP.    

  • Selection by application in early Fall.  
  • Students should also register for 11.385 (IAP) and 11.386 (Spring).
instructors
units
3-0-3G
schedule
W (12:30-2:00) Debate, open to all, R (11:00-12:30) Seminar (9-450B)
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
2-0-4
schedule
T (3:00-5:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Cities are massive, interconnected, complicated systems, but luckily there are techniques to observe and make sense of them.  In particular, in the seminar we will get to know Greater Boston and the field of urban planning by thinking about urban systems and urban data.

instructors
Bob Simha, Joost Bonsen
units
schedule
T (4:00-6:00) (10-401)
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
3-0-3H / H1
schedule
T (9:00-12:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Provides an introduction to spatial data science in the form of an overview of applied methods of spatial data analysis illustrated by means of the open source GeoDa software and the  PySAL Python library for spatial analysis. Topics will include geovisualization, exploratory data analysis, spatial autocorrelation and introductory spatial regression.

instructors
units
3-0-9H
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Explores, through the lenses of social science, management, and policy foundations, how and why existing energy systems have developed over the 20th century and factors that constrain and shape the means to change them.

instructors
Ananya Roy
units
2-0-1H
schedule
TR (5:00-7:00), 9/23, 9/25, 9/30, 10/2 (9-451)
prerequisites
description

This short course, designed for advanced graduate students, covers new directions in urban and planning theory.  During the course of 4 sessions, students will be introduced to, and gain fluency in, the following conceptual frameworks and debates:

instructors
units
3-0-3G
schedule
M (11:00-1:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description
instructors
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (8:00-9:30) (9-450A)
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.

CDD

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
0-18-0H / PRACTICUM
schedule
()
prerequisites
description

Design and development studio that involves architects and planners, working in teams on a contemporary design project of importance in Beijing, China. Students analyze conditions, explore alternatives, and synthesize architecture, city design, and implementation plans. Supplemented by lectures and brief study tours that expose students to history and contemporary issues of urbanism in China.

instructors
units
3-0-9H
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 (9:00-12:00) (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
Brent D. Ryan, Miho Mazereeuw
units
0-12-9H
schedule
TR (1:00-6:00) (Studio)
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
units
3-0-9H
schedule
R (9:00-12:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

Explores theories, practices, and emerging trends in the fields of landscape architecture and urbanism, such as systemic design, landscape urbanism, engineered nature, drosscapes, urban biodiversity, urban mobility, and megaregions. This year’s special topic will be: The Future of Suburbia.

instructors
Terry Szold, Susan Silberberg
units
3-0-9H / 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
units
3-0-3
schedule
T (9:00-12:00), Partial Term (10-485)
prerequisites
description

What is a “neighborhood” and how relevant is neighborhood “design”? How do we reconcile the idealized neighborhood against the reality of neighborhood? This course brings together multiple disciplinary viewpoints on neighborhoods to explore synergies and conflicts and tease out the current relevance of neighborhood planning and design in the quest to build the sustainable city.

instructors
units
3-0-3
schedule
MW (11:00-1:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

Required subject for MCP students.  Students attend one session per week. 

EPP

instructors
Nicholas Ashford
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (E51-057)
prerequisites
description

Introduction to important issues in contemporary environmental law, policy, and economics. Discusses the roles and interactions of Congress, federal agencies, state governments, and the courts in dealing with environmental problems.

instructors
Michael Golay
units
3-1-8H
schedule
TR (3:00-5:00) (32-155)
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
units
3-0-9H
schedule
T (2:00-5:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

Explores the evolution of food production, from farm to plate, in the US and globally. Considers the science, economics, and politics behind the transition from pre-industrial to an industrial food system. Debates the costs and benefits of genetically modified food, organic agriculture, and local/regional food production.

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

The Schumpeterian notion of technological innovation as "the engine of growth" is being challenged as the globalization of trade is increasingly seen as the driving force of industrial economies.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (56-167)
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
3-0-9H
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (E51-057)
prerequisites
description

Reviews and analyzes federal and state regulation of air and water pollution and hazardous wastes. Analyzes pollution as an economic problem and the failure of markets. Emphasizes use of legal mechanisms and alternative approaches (such as economic incentives and voluntary approaches) to control pollution and to encourage chemical accident and pollution prevention.

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

Examines the economic impact of climate change, the costs of mitigation, and the challenges that climate change poses to conventional approaches to policy analysis, including among others: the paradoxes of intergenerational discounting; the difficulty of taking account of extreme uncertainty and irreversible risks, and incorporation of non-monetized values into a cost-benefit framework.

HCED

instructors
units
3-0-9U/G
schedule
MW (9:30-11:00) (1-242)
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
J. Phillip Thompson, Jim Buckley
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

 

instructors
units
3-0-6H
schedule
W (2:00-5:00) (5-231)
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
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
4-0-8H
schedule
MW (4:00-5:30) Lec, W (5:30-7:00) Rec (9-354)
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
4-0-8H
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) Lec, T (5:30-7:00) Rec (2-105 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
3-0-9G
schedule
MW (9:30-11:00) (1-242)
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
Elisabeth Reynolds
units
3-0-9H
schedule
W (2:00-5:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Introduces both the theoretical foundations as well as empirical studies of regional innovation systems, which emphasize the dynamics of geographic proximity to help foster innovation.  Building regional capabilities for innovation is considered essential to responding to the challenges globalization presents to regional economies and local communities.

instructors
units
3-0-12H / PRACTICUM
schedule
R (2:00-5:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Provides students with an opportunity to do team projects in the Dudley neighborhood as part of a ongoing commitment of DUSP to work with the DSNI on projects ranging from the building design, housing, energy, food systems, education, economic cooperatives, community arts and citizen engagement.

IDG

instructors
Amy Smith
units
3-2-7U/G
schedule
MWF (3:30-5:00) (N51-315M)
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
Reinhard Goethert
units
3-0-9H
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (1-371)
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
Amy Smith
units
3-2-7U/G
schedule
MWF (3:30-5:00) (N51-315 )
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
3-0-9H
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Examines efforts in developing and advanced nations and regions to create, finance, and regulate infrastructure from a variety of method- ological and disciplinary perspectives. Explores how an energy crisis can be an opportunity for making fundamental changes to improve col- lapsing infrastructure networks. Introduces the challenges to modern society concerning energy security.

instructors
units
3-0-9H
schedule
R (6:00-8:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

In this class, we will define and assess the various institutional and governance structures for urban land management systems that have significant implications for housing policy in developing countries.  We will discuss how land and housing are closely intertwined in the design of any sustainable shelter policy for the urban poor.  Our exploration will begin with a ca

instructors
Jota Samper Escobar
units
3-0-9H
schedule
T (2:00-5:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

Examines urban development challenges in conflict cities. Case studies used to examine the basic infrastructural, governance, social, and economic dilemmas facing citizens and local officials.

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
Wesley Harris, Calestous Juma
units
schedule
T (2:00-4:00) (4-146)
prerequisites
description

This seminar is an introduction to iHouse, New House's newest living/learning community focused on developing the next generation of global leaders. The seminar is mandatory for freshmen who choose to live in iHouse, with limited space for non-iHouse freshmen. If you hope to live in iHouse, please list 11.A11 among your seminar choices on the Advising application.

instructors
units
15-0-3H / PRACTICUM
schedule
TBD, Travel 8/1-8/25 ()
prerequisites
description

Students will work in Delhi (and Mumbai and Chennai), India, in selected jhugi-jhopri (slum) communities (called JJ clusters in Indian government’s parlance), review and assess the conditions of communities slated for resettlement or evictions and the conditions of resettlement sites, conduct data mapping and visualization to get a better understanding of the impact of displac

instructors
units
2-0-10H
schedule
T (3:00-5:00) (5-232)
prerequisites
description

The course will begin with a rigorous and critical introduction to the history, foundation, structure, and operation of the human rights movement.

Transportation

instructors
Frederick Salvucci, Michael Murga
units
3-0-9H
schedule
F (2:00-5:00) (5-217)
prerequisites
description

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

instructors
Carolina Osorio
units
3-1-8H
schedule
TR (10:30-12:00) Lec, R (4:00-5:00) Rec (3-333 Lec, 5-217 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
3-1-8H
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) Lec, F (11:00-12:00) Rec (3-333 Lec, 1-390 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
2-0-7H
schedule
W (9:00-11:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

How Were Ideas Born?

This seminar dissects ten research projects from head to toe to illustrate how 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.

UIS

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
2-2-2H / H2
schedule
MW (2:00-3:30) 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
units
2-4-6H
schedule
M (6:00-8:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Advanced seminar extends computer and analytic skills developed in the other subjects in this sequence into a research environment. Students present a structured discussion of a journal article representative of current research in Planning Decisions Support Systems, and complete an approved short research project.