Exploring the Concept of Home Through the Lens of Planners

Most students at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) are only on MIT’s campus for two years. During that time, they tackle ambitious course work, engage in fieldwork through faculty organized practicum and studios, all while designing, imagining, researching, and writing their own individual thesis. To this busy calendar, layer atop involvement in student organizations and activism, engagement with the Greater Boston area, endless opportunities to attend events and speakers, and the normal pull of one’s personal life. This dense time of growth is often unarchived, with only the formal thesis or client presentations as lasting artifacts of each individual's experiences and contributions at MIT. A group of Master of City Planning (MCP) students are seeking to address this gap in physical and digital artifacts through the creation of a DUSP student-led publication Silt

"Silt was envisioned as a public forum where students of city planning, architecture, and design could share work that doesn’t fit into the mold of more traditional academic publications," says Lucy Corlett, a member of the editorial team and co-creator of the publication. "With Silt, we wanted to celebrate our community’s creative voice and take the increasingly rare opportunity to immortalize that voice in print." 

The first issue of Silt was published on May 16th, 2024. Both digital and physical copies were produced. "For the executive committee it was important to have a physical, printed copy of Silt. Often in the digital world it is easy to forget about the power of a tactile engagement with material. This felt especially salient to all of us, in the post-pandemic era to bring community back to the physical world," notes Corlett. For those passionate about urbanism and the intellectual community of DUSP a digital version of the publication is available. "We also produced a digital edition of Silt, because while we highly value the tactile engagement with a physical copy, we wanted to facilitate access for a wider community as well as invite thought and dialogue across these pieces with a diverse set of voices." 

Silt content is provided by students in the Greater Boston area that are engaged with cities and the built environment. The pieces reflect their experiences as residents, students, practitioners, advocates, and lovers of urban places. This issue features prose and poetry by: Nicole Wang, Mo Bradford, Marco Herndon, Victoria Avis, Mistaya Smith, Alula Hunsen, Brooke Jin, Archer Thomas, Cheng-Hsin Chan, Sara Jex, Isaac Gendler, Nour ElZein, Alejandra Martinez, Beth Tesfaye, and Daniela Morales. "Silt creates space for creative and non-academic endeavors outside of our explicit work as planners while building connections with our peers at other institutions," adds Olivia Fiol, a co-creator and member of the editorial team. "It was important to us that Silt centered DUSP student voices and provided a platform for students in related disciplines or at peer institutions for informal, creative work."

The current managing editorial team includes co-creators Lucy Corlett and Olivia Fiol. Executive committee members include: Jake Boeri, Web Farabow, Alula Hunsen, Brooke Jin, Mistaya Smith, Archer Thomas, Cale Wagner, and Mabelle Zhang.  

Silt was produced with support from the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning's Bemis Fund, generously provided by Dean Hashim Sarkis of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning.


Access the full digital version of the first volume of Silt