The MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism is committed to fostering a rigorous design culture for the large scale; by focusing disciplinary conversations about architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and systems thinking, not about the problems of yesterday, but of tomorrow. We are motivated by the radical changes in our environment, and the role that design and research can play in addressing these. We embrace conversations with the world's top experts at MIT, to feed and foster innovation. We take pride in the fact that participants in the Center do not just talk about things; they create projects, build things, and actively change our society out in the real world; and then come together to learn from each other's experiences, publish, and debate about future directions. The MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism has been established at the initiative of the Dean and department Chairs of the School of Architecture and Planning and reflects a renewed drive to excellence in urbanism.

Urbanism constitutes one of the most complex societal challenges of today's world.

The mission of the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center of Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) is to establish a new theoretical and applied research platform to create knowledge that can be used to transform the quality of life throughout the urbanized world. LCAU is committed to achieving this goal through collaborative interdisciplinary research projects using design as a mode of inquiry, intellectual discourse, and dissemination through leadership forums, conferences, publications, and teaching.

LCAU’s mission is motivated by the radical changes in our urbanizing environment that are bound to increase in size and importance in the future. The fields examining urban phenomena are diverse. Each focusing on one aspect of the problem, they either fail to address their interconnection or if they do, they become too abstract or too detached from the design of alternative solutions to complex problems. To help improve urban environments today, we need to address this complexity by bringing the different fields together around concrete design propositions in order to better shape future cities. Making cities more civic and more sustainable by design are two main goals of this undertaking.