Labs & Centers
Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism

The Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) provides a home for faculty interested in collaborative research projects that will engage student participation. LCAU is the umbrella for various existing research laboratories and faculty projects. It organizes collaborations between these labs and other MIT groups in order to foster a cross-disciplinary expertise.

Urban environments are being planned, designed, constructed, and retrofitted at an unprecedented pace and scale, which often precludes a rational, thoughtful process. Global economic forces have eclipsed standard paradigms of post-World War II urban expansion and ideas of incremental urban development. New megacities are being built all over the world in record time and often without standard protocols or procedures of the established design and urban planning professions. Pressing cultural and environmental concerns are demanding new levels of accountability as we measure ecological performance, energy use, mobility and density relationships, and the deployment of dwindling resources. These and other factors challenge the intelligence and efficacy of new urbanization forms and existing conventions and typologies for development. We have entered into a new era or urban growth whereby the rules have changed and paradigms of urbanism desperately need recalibration to meet today’s global challenges.

Center's objective is to become the world’s pre-eminent cultural center about the design of metropolitan environments, by articulating methods and projects to integrate separate disciplinary agendas in architecture, landscape, ecology, transportation engineering, politics and political philosophy, technology and real estate through a most eloquent design culture on scales ranging from the complex infrastructural intersection, to that of a neighborhood, on to the scale of an entire regional system.

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With contributions from: Adèle Naudé Santos, Nader Tehrani, Eran Ben-Joseph, Alexander D’Hooghe, Alan Berger, Sarah Williams, Brent Ryan, Meejin Yoon, Kent Larson, Chris Zegras, Miho Mazereeuw, Christoph Reinhart, Judith Layzer. 

Cinematographer and Editor: Stebs Schinnerer, Paper Fortress Films

Production: Chris Jennings, MINDER, Prudence Robinson