SPURS Fellows 2019-2020

SPURS Fellows: Vakhtang Kasrelishvili, SUN Shimeng, Joaquin Benitez

Joaquin Benitez (Argentina)


Assistant professor in urban sociology at the University of Buenos Aires. He has experience working with monitoring and evaluating social programs for the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, as well as writing reports on housing policies for NGOs. He earned a master’s degree in urban studies at the Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento with a thesis centered on urban social movements, participation, and the right to the city. At MIT, he plans to further research on social housing, slums upgrading, and urban policies.

Email: benitezj@mit.edu

Vakhtang Kasrelishvili (Georgia)


Urban planner, founder/CEO, RED Fund. Leads and manages urban projects, collaborates with governmental and non-governmental institutions. Has collaborated with various architects/planners in Georgia, Russia, and Prague. His recent project is on the land use master plan of Telavi, Georgia. Graduated with bachelor of architecture in Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, MSc of urban strategies at University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and MSc of urban studies in National Research University-High school of Economics (Russia). While at MIT, he plans to learn from international experiences, gain methodological tools and improve skills in planning and policy making.

Email: kasreli@mit.edu

SUN Shimeng (China)


Assistant professor in the Department of Urban Planning at Tsinghua University, China. She has a BArch and a PhD in urban planning. She focuses her research on traditional Chinese urban planning and design theory and method, as well as conservation planning for historic cities. She is currently studying the planning history of prefectural cities in Taiwan and provincial cities in mainland China from the 17th to 19th century. At MIT, she will focus on the conservation planning of historic environments in the US.

Email: sunsm@mit.edu