HCED focuses on the equitable development of American communities at the neighborhood, city and regional levels.

For decades the group’s faculty and students have helped shape policy, practice and research in housing, economic, workforce and comprehensive community development. Teaching students to practice and research in these substantive areas has been driven by a deep faculty commitment to expanding opportunity and improving quality of life for historically disadvantaged groups.

In addition to serving MIT undergraduates, we provide courses and advising as one of four specializations within the Master in City Planning (MCP) program offered by the department, and we supervise students in the Ph.D. program as well. See ‘Program.’

We sustain comparative and cross-disciplinary connections to other parts of the department and MIT. A number of our faculty are affiliated with other groups or centers, extending our expertise and reach in energy and environmental sustainability, international development and globalization, smart cities and planning technologies, city design and development, real estate, and other areas. See ‘People.’

A defining feature of HCED is our sustained local partnerships within and beyond the greater Boston region.  These partnerships enrich our teaching and research. But they also seek to directly improve the quality of life in communities confronting complex economic restructuring, rapid technological change, the special challenges and opportunities that follow natural disasters, and more. See 'Projects.'

Community Partnerships


Central to HCED's mission and philosophy is collaboration with local leaders and institutions to take action to improve their communities. Active engagement with communities, often through practicum courses and internships, provides students with focused, hands-on experience to guide their knowledge and skill development, allows faculty to study and test innovative approaches to building equitable and sustainable urban communities, and expands the capacity of public and non-profit organizations, particularly in disadvantaged cities and neighborhoods.

Over the past decade, HCED faculty, students and staff have built sustained, multi-year partnerships in three cities: Boston and Lawrence, Massachusetts and New Orleans, Louisiana. More recently, we have begun to build one in Puerto Rico, with help from MIT alumni and nonprofit organizations there.

Each of these partnerships has evolved into work with multiple institutions to address a range of planning challenges, including affordable housing, economic development (including workforce development), environmental sustainability, public health, youth development, and urban design.



Mailing address

  • MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning
  • HCED Program
  • 77 Massachusetts Avenue
  • Cambridge, MA 02139
  • fax: (617) 258-8594