Jul 15, 2021

Throughout its history, Urban Design (and allied design disciplines with a capital “D”) has been the practice of a privileged few. And as a manifestation of power, urban design has assisted in translating client(s’) desires to control the city through the shaping of objects and buildings, voids and landscapes, and infrastructural networks. Moreover, our accumulated urbanity parallels the constructions of cultural narratives and a supposed collective memory, reflected through what a society chooses to build and preserve, erase and destroy.

Jul 07, 2021

Infinite Suburbia edited by Alan M. Berger, Joel Kotkin, and Celina Balderas-Guzman has received an honourable mention from the 2020 CICA Bruno Zevi Book Awards.

Jun 21, 2021

Repost of the Changing Risks of Coastal Communities by Carolyn Kousky, Billy Fleming, and Alan M. Berger. An excerpt from "A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation: Uniting Design, Economics, and Policy," published in May by Island Press is now available on Planetizen.

May 21, 2021

Interdisciplinary teams affiliated with MIT’s Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) present the exhibition Moving Together, which opens at the As One Planet Station, Giardini, Central Pavilion at Biennale Architettura 2021 in Venice, Italy. In the next three decades, up to 150 million people are projected to have to relocate due to natural hazards accelerated by climate change.

May 21, 2021

The Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism has been collaborating with the Ian McHarg Center for Urbanism and & Ecology, and the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Process Center of the University of Pennsylvania on a new book: A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation: Uniting Design, Economics, and Policy.

May 17, 2021

Fadi Masoud, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Toronto, and LCAU research affiliate, has recently published a multi-year research and design effort that began at the LCAU. Terra-Sorta-Firma: Reclaiming the Littoral Gradient presents landscape resilience frameworks for urbanism on reclaimed land.

May 06, 2021

The Equitable Resilience Framework team [PI: Janelle Knox-Hayes] has been invited to develop a comprehensive white paper over the summer (2021) as part of the MIT Climate Grand Challenges initiative.

Jan 27, 2021

The MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) has announced the appointment of Sarah Williams, associate professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), as director of the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU). Her new role became effective on January 1.

Oct 30, 2020

In a recent Wildfire Climate Explainer on MIT’s relaunched Climate Portal, Professor Alan Berger and research associate Jonah Susskind discuss resilience strategies for adapting to wildfires. The wildland-urban interface (WUI) is a focus of their research into settlement patterns within and adjacent to California’s WUI areas.

Oct 30, 2020

In early fall students from the School of Architecture and Planning who were supported through the LCAU’s Summer Fellowship Program shared their research efforts. The cohort of graduate students have been examining Equitable Resilience as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic, and covered a variety of topics from an examination of the pandemic’s impact on tenant protections and housing stability in the US, to privacy concerns around civic mapping in South Korea.

Oct 26, 2020

In the latest JOLA, professors Alan Berger and Richard Zeckhauser, and researchers Jonah Susskind and Mike Wilson introduce resilience districts, a design-based, decision-making unit to analyze, plan, and implement resilience strategies. This article presents the research exhibited in Resilience Districts Boston at MIT's Gallery 9 in spring 2019.

Oct 26, 2020

A new article in Urban Planning by Antoine Vialle, doctoral candidate at Laboratory of Urbanism, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, former visiting student at the LCAU, and Mario Giampieri, research associate with the LCAU, tackles the strategic role of soils in urban areas’ social-ecological transition. The research presents a case study in West Lausanne that maps urbanizations as an anthropedogenetic process, and outlines opportunities for regeneration.  

Oct 05, 2020

The Baker-Polito Administration announced $11.1 million in grants to cities and towns through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. Established in 2017, MVP supports municipalities in Massachusetts to begin planning for climate change resiliency and enable the implementation of projects. The City of Malden has been awarded a $150,015 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Action Grant to continue work on the Malden River Works effort at the Department of Public Works site.

Oct 05, 2020

Professor Rafi Segal was announced as the winner of the Living Together, 2020 Brick Award, for a Prototype Village House in Mageragere, Rwanda.

Jan 15, 2020

The Malden River Works team are featured in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center Spotlight, and the NIH’s Partnerships for Environmental Public Health January newsletter.

Jan 15, 2020

The 2020 LCAU Seed Grant has been awarded to three interdisciplinary teams from the School of Architecture and Planning for their research tackling issues of equity and resilience in urban planning and design. The teams will be exploring cultural resilience in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, cooperative land ownership in manufactured housing communities in the U.S., and the communication of climate change within the space of the city through a ceremonial urban performance in East Boston.

More details on the projects may be found at the links below:

Oct 18, 2019

In January 2019 Professor Rafi Segal led a workshop supported by Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC),  that examined Starter Communities: Architecture and Rural Urbanism in Cavite Province, Philippines. This workshop was the first phase of a three-year collaboration with PTC, and undertook a regional analysis of Cavite, examining land use, equitable resilience, transportation and access, disaster risk mitigation, climate change adaptation, and sustainable growth. It also began to tackle an urban design proposal for housing at the community scale for the new town of Silang.

Oct 18, 2019

In early October, Design with Nature Now was released to mark the 50th anniversary of McHarg’s Design with Nature. It features contributions from several affiliated faculty including Anne Spirn on A Landscape of Ideas and Actions, and commentary from Alan Berger and Jonah Susskind on The Planetary Optic and Finding the Real Ground.

Read The Dirt’s review here.

Oct 21, 2019

This fall the center welcomes our first cohort of doctoral students taking the Advanced Urbanism concentration. Alessandra Fabbri joins us from the University of New South Wales; she is an architect and urban designer specializing in advanced algorithmic-based technologies. She joins the center through the Department of Architecture’s Design and Computation Group. Lizzie Yarina joins us from the Urban Risk Lab at MIT where she was a research scientist.

Oct 18, 2019

Professor Alan Berger, and researcher associates David Birge and Sneha Mandan from the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism have recently concluded a two-year research effort examining strategies for achieving zero-carbon suburban development in hyper-arid conditions. Their analysis explored technology adoption to create new energy-water regimes, the potential role of landscaping in carbon sequestration, and the coupling of environmental and socio-cultural sustainability for better design.

Oct 18, 2019

In June, the center hosted a multi-day workshop that explored the convergence of equitable resilience and sustainable urban systems. Through several discussion sessions, the workshop explored a framework for urban sustainability that integrates resilience and equity as necessary attributes of any sustainable city or region.

Sep 18, 2019

MIT’s Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) is pleased to name Malden Works for Waterfront Equity and Resilience the winner of the 2019 Norman B. Leventhal City Prize, a $100,000 award to catalyze transformative urban design and planning approaches. Malden Works is a new, experimental resilience project in the City of Malden, Massachusetts.

Oct 18, 2019

Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal discusses forcible displacement and resettlement policy with The Hindu, as it relates to his ongoing research into climate-induced displacement in Chennai and Kerala.

Sep 04, 2019

One of the hallmarks of a research institute is the capacity to bring multiple disciplines to bear on societies most pressing challenges. Over the past two years, the Norman B Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) has increasingly used the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) to help foster collaborations between departments, and to develop new research and design techniques and methods.

Mar 14, 2019

The 2019 LCAU Seed Grant has been awarded to three interdisciplinary teams lead by Professor Lawrence Vale, Assistant Professor Justin Steil, Associate Professor Miho Mazereeuw and Associate Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal.

Feb 08, 2019

Vibrant, innovative cities most often result from powerful collaborations among diverse constituencies.

To support this ideal, the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) has announced the creation of a new interdisciplinary prize aimed at catalyzing innovative urban design and planning approaches worldwide, with a goal of improving the quality of life and environment for residents. 

Feb 12, 2019

The LCAU is the recipient of three MISTI Global Seed Fund Awards in the 2018-19 cycle. Professor Alan Berger and Jonah Susskind in collaboration with faculty from Bogazici University will work on optimizing stormwater infrastructure in Istanbul.

Oct 18, 2019

Los Angeles has long captured the imaginations of designers and urbanists for its characteristic embodiment of the twentieth-century metropolis. The city’s vast polycentric agglomerations of diverse communities, single-purpose transportation, and utility infrastructure—framed against a backdrop of ocean, mountain, and desert landscapes—have inspired an impressive lineage of techno-futurist identities and visionary design engagement.

Dec 07, 2018

Newly released Routledge Companion to Landscape Architecture, features a chapter by Sneha Mandhan and Alan Berger entitled, Coupling Environmental and Sociocultural Sustainability for Better Design: A case study of Emirati neighborhoods and landscape, that builds from research into new sustainable neighborhood forms in Abu Dhabi.

Oct 22, 2018

The MIT School of Architecture and Planning will offer a new concentration to support collaborative doctoral-level studies in Advanced Urbanism, with applications being accepted in fall 2018.

Oct 10, 2018

Successful climate change adaptation requires a national reckoning. The ways in which the effects of climate change impact everyone, in cities and regions of different scales, income brackets, on the coast and inland, must be acknowledged for adaptation to be successful. It also requires novel solutions from a range of different disciplines. The McHarg Center, Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, and the MIT Norman B.

Oct 05, 2018

The results from a two-year collaboration with the Masdar Institute of Technology have been published in Building & Environment. The research explored viable paths to developing and/or transitioning to low-carbon suburbs in hot-arid regions. The work undertook a case-study of Emirati villas in Abu Dhabi; analyzing the combined impact of energy efficiency gains through technology adoption and improved design, carbon intensity reduction through renewable energy transitions, and carbon sequestration from parcel scale tree planting.

Aug 13, 2018

Climate change and increasing urbanization of populations are intensifying the impacts of stormwater flooding. Existing urban infrastructure often exacerbates the risks of flooding due to aging or inadequate systems for handling excess water as well as the replacement of natural ecosystems, that helped absorb flooding, with pavement and structures.

Oct 10, 2018

This academic year 2018-19, the Norman B. (1938) and Muriel Leventhal Graduate Fellowships have been awarded to Bella Purdy (MCP, DUSP) and Malcolm Rio (SMArchS Urbanism, ARCH). These fellowships recognize academic excellence in students who exhibit an interest in the research and design of large-scale metropolitan environments.

Aug 13, 2018

In Massachusetts, single-family home prices are rising faster than any other state, with median home sale prices continuing an upward trend.[1]The problems of availability and affordability will continue to plague the future Boston housing market, unless innovative action is taken. In June 2018, the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism closed out its two-year biennial focused on affordable housing with the conference, Rebuilding the Supply of Affordable Housing, co-hosted with Fannie Mae.

Apr 23, 2018

Join us on 25th April 2018 at 6:30PM in the Long Lounge (7-429) for It's Not Pretty - Informality Beyond Design

Presenters include: James Debowski, Nastya Pnomaryova, David Birge. Followed by a moderated discussion led by Brent Ryan and Rafi Segal.

This event is co-sponsored by the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism and the Joint Program in City Design and Development, DUSP.

Apr 05, 2018

How will autonomous vehicles transform metropolitan environments? Will they enable a re-imagining of future suburban development? Professor Berger delves into this and more in the Economist’s Special Report on autonomous vehicles.

Oct 18, 2019

In the fall of 2017, the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism supported faculty and students from the MIT School of Architecture and Planning to develop a research and design studio focused on propositional design frameworks for adapting coastal urban morphologies to meet the challenges of sea-level rise in Boston. These proposals took on two typological sites, each of which embodied several of the complex issues related to social, economic, and environmental resilience at the scale of the district.

Mar 01, 2018

Library Journal released its list of Best Reference of 2017 and it features Infinite Suburbia.

Jan 23, 2018

Water Management for Future Climate Scenarios,  January 31st, 3:30 - 5:00 PM, E51-095, MIT

Join J-WAFS for an IAP seminar featuring Tyler Swingle who will be discussing the strategies for urban stormwater wetlands in Houston and Los Angeles.

Jan 23, 2018

LCAU is the recipient of three MISTI Global Seed Fund Awards in the 2017-18 cycle. Professor Brent Ryan in collaboration with Ying Long and Shuqi Gao, Tsinghua University will be undertaking a transnational comparison, examining shrinking cities in the US and China.

Jan 23, 2018

During January (IAP) three workshop kicked off further explorations of affordable housing internationally. Marie Law Adams and Adele Santos led a group of students from the departments of Architecture and Urban Studies and Planing to Georgetown, Guyana. With support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and in collaboration with the University of Guyana the workshop has explored aspects of public infrastructure flooding, and community development as they relate to housing in the neighborhood of Sophia.

Jan 23, 2018

This academic year 2017-18, the Leventhal Graduate Fellowships have been awarded to Sarah Dalton Brown (MCP, DUSP),  Justin Lim (SMArchS Urbanism, ARCH), and Alexander Wiegering (SMArchS Urbanism, ARCH).  These fellowships recognize academic excellence in students, who also exhibit an interest in the research and design of large-scale metropolitan environments.

Jan 23, 2018

What is the future of global suburbia? The Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT (LCAU) has collaborated with a network of artists, researchers, theorists, faculty, and students to examine emergent trends of suburban design and development around the world. Infinite Suburbia (Princeton Architectural Press, Oct.

Jan 23, 2018

Andrew Altman has joined the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) as Senior Advisor and Director of Global Partnerships.

Jan 23, 2018

In addition to extending Grand Challenge research from 2016 and 2017 - for Professor Sam Madden and Professor Thomas Malone, Philips Lighting has initiated four new research projects this academic year.

Jan 23, 2018

The LCAU is delighted to welcome this year’s visiting scholars and students. Professor Brent Ryan will be hosting and supervising visiting student James Debowski, from Australian National University, alongside visiting scholars Professor Miao Xu, from Chongqing University and Nastya Ponomaryova, Fulbright Scholar from Ukraine.

Oct 19, 2017

What is the future of global suburbia? The Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT (LCAU) has collaborated with a network of artists, researchers, theorists, faculty, and students to examine emergent trends of suburban design and development around the world. Infinite Suburbia (Princeton Architectural Press, Oct.

Oct 10, 2017

Professor Adèle Naudé Santos and Debora Mesa receives 2017 LafargeHolcim Awards Acknowledgement prize for Latin America: Award recognizes visionary solutions for sustainable design.

Sep 15, 2017

According to Prof. Berger millennials want a different kind of suburban development - one that is smart, efficient and sustainable. In a recent New York Times article, he explores a new model for a sustainable suburb of the future. Building off of the Norman B.

Sep 15, 2017

The spring urban design studio, Urbanism After Extraction, co-taught by SA+P's Rafi Segal and Marie Law Adams, has received the ARCHITECT 2017 Studio Prize. The studio, which brought together students from the departments of architecture and urban studies and planning, investigated post-industrial urban transformations of a former mining region in Poland. 

Apr 12, 2017

Professor Berger recently joined Hyperloop’s Vision for America Conference in Washington D.C. with other panelists including former Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx; KPMG Head of Infrastructure Andy Garbutt; Vice President of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs of Amtrak, Caroline Decker; and former BNSF Railway Vice President of Network Strategy Dean Wise.

Feb 07, 2017

The MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism is pleased to announce that it will be supporting the Urban Design Studio: Reclaiming Europe’s Coal Towns: Housing, Landscape, and Infrastructure in the Silesia Region, Poland. The studio will be co-taught by Rafi Segal and Marie Law Adams, who will bring together architecture, urbanism and planning students to work together.

Feb 07, 2017

Professor Meejin Yoon has been awarded the 2017 MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism Seed Grant to support her FloatLab project. Sited within the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, FloatLab is an educational platform to study and observe the transforming urban waterway. Professor Yoon will lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers, engineers and environmental scientists to explore how cities like Philadelphia are revitalizing their river fronts and learning from urban river ecologies.

Feb 07, 2017

David Vega-Barachowitz, Fadi Masoud, and Roi Salgueiro discuss the impact of land use regulation on the North American landscape. Coding the Third Condition, seeks to challenge and reimagine the Euclidean zoning system as an instrument capable of guiding contemporary urbanism. The design proposition searches for novel land use standards that arise from dynamic, ecological paradigms within the urban conditions.

Feb 07, 2017

The MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism is very pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 MIT-Philips Lighting Grand Challenge. This year’s Grand Challenge was focused on the future of Internet of Things in lighting and beyond. Teams from across MIT were invited to submit proposals that investigated a new approach or idea, conduct short-term, exploratory research and seed ideas for longer-term sponsored research.

Dec 21, 2016

The Center will be offering two workshops during IAP (January, 2017): a workshop on simulating neighborhood sustainability, and a hands-on lab-based workshop on designing urban wetlands.

11.S951: Using digital simulation mechanics to design sustainable neighborhood typologies
Instructors: Mary Anne Ocampo, David Birge, Sneha Mandhan

Dec 21, 2016

MIT Better World features Water-Conserving Design: "For the past several years, James Wescoat, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture and co-director of the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism, has collaborated on this nexus of water, food, and energy with Afreen Siddiqi ’99, SM ’01, PhD ’06, a research scientist in MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society.

Nov 04, 2016

Ongoing research and design work generated through the Terra Sorta Firma - Coding Resilient Urbanism in South Florida urban design studio has been gaining momentum and traction at a regional level in Florida.

Oct 11, 2016

Developing the Littoral Gradient research team Fadi Masoud, Brent Ryan, and Colleen Xi Qiu (PhD Candidate) conducted a 4-city, 8-day field study and research trip to China funded by the Sam Tak Lee Faculty Research Seed Grant. While on the trip, the team met with key research affiliates, academics, planners, and developers in Beijing, Tianjin, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong.

Oct 11, 2016

In late August, Andres Achury and Francis Goyes, Master in City Planning candidates and research assistants at the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism, visited Colombia to carry out preliminary field research with Fundación Mario Santo Domingo (FMSD), one of the largest foundation in Colombia.

Sep 20, 2016

Two conference papers have been accepted for ASCAAD in Nov. 2016. The papers were written by the MIT-Masdar team, who are looking at mapping Abu Dhabi’s native-born neighborhoods. The papers are entitled: Dynamic Simulation of Neighborhood Scale Water Use. A case study of Emirati neighborhoods in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Dynamic Digital Simulation of External Visual Privacy in Arab Muslim Households. A case study of Emirati neighborhoods in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Sep 20, 2016

During the summer Prof. Wescoat took up the mantle of Co-Director from Prof. Santos, and will join Prof. Berger who has been appointed the Norman B. and Muriel Leventhal Professor of Advanced Urbanism. Professor Adèle Santos will join the growing body of affiliated faculty and will be spear heading the next biennial theme.

Sep 20, 2016

Wetlands Design Testing from MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism: Researchers experiment with different geometries to maximize jet dispersion in stormwater wetlands that also provide urban amenity, ecological, and water quality functions. This research is funded by MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS). Further information may be found here.

Jun 02, 2016

In early May, 2016, a research team from the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism, visited Abu Dhabi to explore local neighborhoods and interact with stakeholders responsible for planning, design and allocation of Emirati housing in the city. The team, consisting of Research Associates David Birge and Sneha Mandhan, is part of a two year collaboration between MIT, led by Prof. Alan Berger, and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, led by Prof. Khaled Alawadi, aiming to design sustainable neighborhood typologies for native housing in Abu Dhabi.

Apr 29, 2016

MIT has named its Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) in honor of Norman B. Leventhal '38, a visionary developer and philanthropist at the center of Boston’s postwar revival. A life member emeritus of the MIT Corporation who died last year, Mr. Leventhal was a vital member of the MIT community for three-quarters of a century.

The center was officially named the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) today at a signing ceremony attended by Alan and Sherry Leventhal and other members of Norman Leventhal’s extended family.  

Apr 28, 2016

Recordings of the Future of Suburbia conference are now available. Future of Suburbia - Robert Bruegmann in conversation with Joel Budd. Heterogeneous - with Jed Kolko, David Rudlin (URBED), Ali Modarres (University of Washington). Moderated by Joel Kotkin (Chapman University). Productive - with Prof. Joan Nassauer (University of Michigan), Prof. Susannah Hagan (University of Westminster), Mitchell Joachim (Terreform One).

Apr 28, 2016

Jonathan Mingle: On the global stage, cities may be where the spotlight often falls — but the suburbs are where the action is.

Apr 28, 2016

CAU’s wetlands project was part of the MIT Open House on April 23, 2016. In the Nepf Fluid Dynamics Lab, we set up four experimental wetland basins for visitors to see for themselves how design can impact water quality. In this activity, visitors inserted obstacles into the wetland basin in novel configurations to lengthen the amount of time a wooden bead took to travel through the wetland. We were visited by a wide spectrum of the local community- including families, young professionals, and MIT faculty and alums- and enjoyed receiving a high level of engagement by the public. 

Apr 04, 2016

CAU research featured in current issue of Volume #47: The System.

Metabolic Wastebelts: Waste creates its own landscape, and thus our relation to it, like all landscapes, is ultimately a question of design. Unlike the pastoral, though, water landscapes need to overcome stigma and outright danger. The question again seems to be at least one addressable by means of design. MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism speculate about potential landscape strategies to harvest social and urban value from waste. 


Mar 21, 2016

As part of UN World Water Day, MIT CAU’s project on stormwater constructed wetlands was featured in the White House Water Summit’s Fact Sheet, which profiles important commitments made by stakeholders around the country to push forward water security. CAU’s project is undertaken by an interdisciplinary design and engineering team investigating how constructed wetlands for stormwater can combine performance and urban design functionality to become resiliency infrastructure for cities.

Mar 08, 2016

Future of Suburbia Conference is introduced by Eric Bender in Moving Beyond Suburban Legends. The conference is designed to appeal broadly to professionals involved in urban planning and development, and will explore how suburbs and their metropolitan areas may be made more sustainable and livable through better design and planning. The gathering will build on a two-year research effort by CAU, which has sought to go beyond traditional analyses of urban landscapes, such as deb

Mar 08, 2016

Boston Globe interview with the Future of Suburbia Exhibition team encourages a disciplinary shift to focus attention on suburbia. The exhibition projects a suburban future that works metabolically as a holistic system that actively provides resources like energy and waste disposal, supporting itself as well as city cores. 

Mar 02, 2016

Cities today are the cumulative product of codes and standards that have directed how people use, construct, and shape their environments. By extrapolating the legends of land use maps, this timeline seeks to expose how landmark codes and ordinances have shaped the North American landscape. The legend in isolation, free from its associations, reveal the the often reductive, scientific rationality of the code in contrast to the fluid networks of landscapes and communities. 

Jan 21, 2016

On Monday 25-Jan, The Future of Suburbia exhibition opened, a multimedia synthesis of multiple years of research that has involved students, faculty, and practitioners.

Major goals of the work are to expose the nuance and complexity of the suburban condition, visually document suburbanization around the world, and produce four design frameworks for future suburban conditions. The four frameworks describe a future of suburbia that is heterogeneous, experimental, autonomous, and productive.

Jan 21, 2016

We are delighted to announce a new research collaboration as part of of the Masdar Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cooperative Program. Dr. Khaled Al Awadi and Prof. Alan Berger will lead research into Abu Dhabi Scenario Planning & Design of New Sustainable Neighborhood Forms. The project aims to develop sustainable neighborhood typologies by understanding the contextual form and analyzing the quantitative urban metabolic flows at a household and neighborhood level for native housing in Abu Dhabi.

Jan 16, 2016

Infrastructural Monument details the first of two conferences organized by the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism centered around the biennial theme of infrastructure.

Jan 16, 2016

The MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism is pleased to announce that it will be supporting the Urban Design Studios: Renacimiento: Reviving Mexico's Abandoned Towns, and Conservation and Re-use of Industrial Heritage at the Shanghai Minsheng Dock. The studios will be co-taught by Brent Ryan and Rafi Segal, and Dennis Frenchman and Jan Wampler respectively. Included below are some more details as to their studios.

Dec 30, 2015

Francis and Ricardo joined MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) as research assistants at the beginning of Fall 2015. Prior to MIT, Francis worked as an architect at the intersection of design and social justice dealing with issues of affordability, equity, and sustainable development. Ricardo joined MIT with a background in architecture and civil engineering; having worked as the lead researcher developing projects for marginalized communities in Mexico.

Dec 30, 2015

As a research assistant at the Center for Advanced Urbanism, I have worked under Research Associate and Lecturer MIT Fadi Masoud on developing a new codification scheme for dynamic environmental processes. The project, which will be encapsulated in an exhibition slated for Spring 2016, is grounded in the notion that a third condition, process-based language of urbanism, can better accommodate and react to fluctuating conditions, from wet to dry, light to dark, and hot to cold.

Dec 30, 2015

Landfill has been an important way in growing Chinese coastal cities to create land and accommodate the increasing housing demand. Such developments are often heavily subsidized by the central and local government. However, we believe such model of urban growth can be devastating, especially to the ecosystems and the environment. Hoping to explore robust environmental strategies in China’s urban development, our “Littoral Gradient” team is investigating real estate development projects built on reclaimed land along Chinese coast.

Dec 30, 2015

The CAU Strategies for Urban Stormwater Wetlands is a research project that combines climatically engineered wetland solutions with key formal and functional landscape designs in urban planning. The project offers me an unique experience as an architecture student to work with fluid mechanics engineers and urban designers. The diverse team is working beyond ambiguous green space designs and towards an urban infrastructure composed of technically sound wetlands and aesthetically pleasing urban landscapes.

Dec 07, 2015

In November 2015, Professors Alan Berger and Heidi Nepf, along with Lead Researcher Celina Balderas Guzman, traveled to Los Angeles to meet with stormwater city and county officials, ecological conservation leaders, and academics. They toured a couple of wetland projects in LA, including the Ballona Wetland and Oxford Basin project, learning about the complex political and ecological challenges facing projects of this kind in LA and the opportunities for intervention. Next spring, the team intends to travel to Houston, our other case study site, for comparative analysis.

Nov 05, 2015

The MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism is very pleased to announce the MIT-Philips Lighting Grand Challenge on The Future of Lighting and Illumination in Smart Cities, Infrastructure, Public Spaces, Buildings, and Homes.

Oct 27, 2015

Please join us on Monday November 2, 2015 for this special CAU event on “The Megacity Initiative: Exploring Urbanism though New Media” with CAU Visiting Scholars Matthew Niederhauser and John Fitzgerald. This talk will take place 12:30-1:30pm at the CAU (E14-140), lunch will be served. For more details contact

Dec 30, 2015

How can social housing in Mexico be better connected to economic opportunity? How can abandoned developments be revived? How can troves of untapped housing and development data be used to benefit Mexican citizens?

Oct 13, 2015

As part of HUBweek  Harvard's Center for the Environment hosted Coping with Climate Change: How Will Boston Adapt?  As part of the panel discussion Professor Alan Berger spoke to the role of resilient districting in Boston as an approach to tackling urban coastal flooding issues.

Sep 29, 2015

The World According to Architecture, a visualization of a research developed by Gabriel Kozlowski, Roi Salgueiro, and Hashim Sarkis, will be on view at Yale School of Architecture until Nov. 14. The visualization shows, conceptualizes and categorizes 25 architectural and urban projects that have considered the scale of the world as a design question. The work is included in the exhibition "City of 7 Billion: A Constructed World", curated by Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis. A homonymous symposium will take place at Yale between Oct. 1 and 3. Dean Sarkis will give the closing address. 

Sep 29, 2015

As part of the CAU’s research on Climate + Urbanism, the Center recently undertook an internal design exercise to analyze the threat posed by climate change on Greater Boston. It focused on the applicability of “resiliency districting” as a means of protecting critical infrastructure, reinforcing regional infrastructure and soft systems, and transferring density out of vulnerable areas. This proposal also sought to demonstrate how new values can emerge in floodable areas by creating flux-receptive programs and land uses. 

Sep 18, 2015

A New Model for the Urban-Rural Fringe in Jiangsu Province (led by Prof. Adèle Santos), and Developing the Littoral Gradient (led by Prof. Brent Ryan and Fadi Masoud) have been awarded Sam Tak Lee Faculty Research Grants. A total of thirteen grants were awarded to faculty and researchers from across the Institute. Research will commence during the fall of 2015.

Jul 22, 2015

This project initiates a new research direction of mutual interest to the mobility industry and urban designers/planners—the effects of automated driving on urban areas. Most current media and research interest in the automated sector focuses on dense urban environments, however, ongoing research the Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) documents how the suburban environment is the dominant form of urbanization in the U.S. (50%+ of the population, 55% of commute destinations). It is likely to remain dominant given the majority share of population and employment in suburban areas.

Jul 10, 2015

Strategies for Urban Stormwater Wetlands Los Angeles and Houston led by Professor Heidi Nepf, Professor Alan Berger and Lead Researcher Celina Balderas Guzman has been awarded an Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) seed-grant. A total of nine grants of $200,000 for two years were awarded to researchers from 11 MIT departments. 

May 19, 2015

Philips has announced an alliance with MIT, for an initial term of five years and $25 million, that will ultimately support MIT research in the company’s core areas of health care and lighting solutions technology, which will be conducted in collaboration with Philips Research.

The new MIT-Philips alliance was formalized today with a signing ceremony attended by Global Head Henk van Houten of Philips Research, and MIT Provost Martin Schmidt and Associate Provost Karen Gleason. Some of the MIT researchers whose work will be supported by the new alliance also attended the signing.

Jul 10, 2015

Professor James Wescoat and Fadi Masoud have two separate chapters published in a book titled “Out of Water: Design Solutions for Arid Regions” and just released by Birkhauser. Water-Conserving Design Solutions: Contributions of Water Budget Analysis in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions by Prof.

May 21, 2015

Over the course of the spring semester students have been experimenting with emerging trends in the fields of landscape architecture and urbanism as they relate to the Center’s biennial theme, The Future of Suburbia. Centered around five design briefs (see below), the workshop has culminated in the design of suburban prototypes that respond to the various future challenges and opportunities that suburbia faces. The students work will form the foundations of an exhibition around the same theme, scheduled to open in early 2016. 

May 20, 2015

On a recent trip to Japan, Alan Berger Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Urbanism, lectured on The Inverted Tent: American Urbanization and Future Mobility.

May 21, 2015

The overall goal of the Medellin Studio was to take the Manatiales de Paz neighborhood as a case study for research and action, in order to discover firsthand the process and form of fast informal urbanization as well as its consequences. Learning from the successful social agenda and the Proyectos Urbanos Integrados PUI (integrated urban projects) that regenerated the informal fabrics of Medellin, the studio aimed to  answer the following question: What if those infrastructural interventions could arrive in time? How should they be deployed? What would be the strategy for implementation?

May 20, 2015

MIT CAU visiting scholars Matthew Niederhauser and John Fitzgerald just returned from a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa and Maputo, Mozambique where they acquired material for the 2016 Future of Suburbia biennial exhibition and associated Infinite Suburbia publication. Johannesburg is a rapidly expanding city marked by stark divides. Its periphery is known for its highly fortified, insular suburban enclaves and large shopping malls that continue to be built at a rapid pace, especially around Pretoria.

May 20, 2015

The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) College of Architecture invited Fadi Masoud Lecturer of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and Research Associate at the CAU to participate in an exhibition titled Emerging Landscapes. The exhibition is IIT College of Architecture’s primary curatorial effort this spring, and is a collaboration between Dean Wiel Arets and the MLA program faculty and students. The selected work on display is recognized as being the most influential in defining emerging trends in landscape architectural research, design, and practice.  

Apr 15, 2015

Rising Tides: Planning and designing Boston’s land use and mobility system for a changing climate led by professors Christopher P. Zegras and Brent Ryan has been awarded an MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism Seed Grant. They will lead an interdisciplinary team of seven students to explore strategies for adapting to potential sea level rise (SLR) through simulated interventions in the land use-transportation system in the Boston Metropolitan Area (BMA).

Apr 15, 2015

On March 26, 2015, the US Census released new data that researchers have been analyzing to find comparisons between urban core and suburban growth. Analysis from William Frey of the Brookings Institute shows that suburban areas are growing faster than urban cores.

Apr 08, 2015

Fostering Sustainable Consumption in U.S. Cities led by Professor Judith Layzer (PI) has been awarded an MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (MIT-ESI) Environmental Research Seed Grants. A total of 59 teams of faculty, research staff, and students responded to the call for proposals, with Prof. Layzer one of nine winners. She will collaborate on this research with faculty including, environmental economist Dr. Frank Ackerman, scientific historian Professor Jennifer Light, and landscape architect and urban designer Professor Alan Berger, as well as Ph.D candidate Lily Pollans.

May 20, 2015

Over IAP 2015, 10 students (MCP, M.Arch, SMarchS) spent seven days in Medellin on an initial workshop, visiting the urban projects in informal settlements and meeting with community partners in the city, including: peers at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellin, the municipality of Bello, the Manantiales de Paz board, as well as a host of city making professionals including: Alejandro Echeverri, Felipe Uribe, Camilo Restrepo and Carlos Escobar.

Mar 23, 2015

On 13-14th March, the CAU hosted a “think tank” design charrette on The Future of Suburbia – the Center’s biennial theme. The workshop marks the half-way point in the biennial theme, which will culminate in spring 2016 with a major conference, exhibition, and publication. A number of lectures, courses, design charrettes and other events are also being held through the spring of 2016 in support of the theme.

Mar 10, 2015

The MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) was represented at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Faculty Members – Professor John Lienhard, Professor Colette Heald, and Associate Provost Karen Gleason – and CAU Co-Director Alan Berger served on MIT’s IdeasLab panel on global food and water security, a topic central to the CAU’s ‘Environment + Urbanism’ research area.

Mar 10, 2015

The Medellin Studio: Providing infrastructure for informal settlements in Bello, Colombia (Co-taught by Lorena Bello and Jota Samper)

Mar 11, 2015

Organized by the MIT Club of Delhi, Celina Balderas Guzman gave a talk on CAU’s research philosophy and mission as evidenced by CAU’s projects. The talk was prefaced by Mr. Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development of India, who spoke about India’s urban challenges. The talk was generously hosted by Mr. Vinay Rai, MIT alum and leader of the Rai Foundation.

Image credit: Matthew Niederhauser and John Fitzgerald. 

Sep 11, 2014

The Center for Advanced Urbanism is pleased to announce the line up for its Lecture Series 2014-15. They will be held on Monday evenings in the Long Lounge (7-429). Further details are available here

The series will begin on 22th September with Louise Mozingo, Professor & Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley discussing Pastoral Capitalism: Corporations, Suburbs, and the Metropolitan Landscape. 


Aug 01, 2014

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan has announced that six design proposals -- including one by MIT's Center for Advanced Urbanism, with partners ZUS + Urbanisten -- have been selected as winners of HUD’s Rebuild by Design competition. The MIT team’s winning design proposal "New Meadowlands” protects a unique area of approximately thirty square miles in the NY/NJ Metropolitan Region, against future flood events.

May 12, 2014

Join the Center for Advanced Urbanism as they present at the 2014 MIT ILP Europe Conference in Brussels on May 21-22nd. Tickets available here

May 12, 2014

“To resolve the world’s ecological problems, we first have to work on the problems facing our cities.” This observation by landscape architect Dirk Sijmons is the premise of the sixth edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam: IABR–2014–URBAN BY NATURE– and it earned him the curatorship of this edition. A major exhibition, URBAN BY NATURE– will guide visitors through the contemporary urban landscape to experience the metabolism of the city. For the first time in its history, the now sustainable Kunsthal will be used in its entirety for a single exhibition.

Mar 07, 2014

The Spring 2014 Scaling Infrastructure conference is CAU’s second and final infrastructure conference of our biennial theme that will convene political leaders, infrastructural engineers, design professionals and academicians to discuss groundbreaking ideas on infrastructure. Faced with new economic, political, and environmental challenges, the question of appropriate infrastructural investments and design scales is critical to the future of urbanized territories.

Nov 12, 2013

The Center for Advanced Urbanism participated in the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, in Shenzhen. The CAU's exhibit entitled "Infrastructural Objects as Enablers of Cultural Change", presented a hypothesis in regards to the diffusion of industrial structures into society at large. Through a process of embedding and re-appropriating, buildings instill new values, forms and symbols into an otherwise conformist urban order.

Nov 08, 2013

On October 28, the MIT CAU ZUS team revealed five Design Opportunities across the Hurricane Sandy-affected region. The CAU ZUS team presented each proposal which are all now available online. This juncture marks the end of Phase II that included three months of research and conversation with communities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and beyond.

Sep 27, 2013

An international design team consisting of the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism (US) and Dutch Delta Collective (NL) was charged by Shaun Donovan, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, with a study and design for the reconstruction and redevelopment of the northeast coastline of the United States, after the passage of hurricane Sandy in 2012. The team combines the cutting edge research and local knowledge of MIT and the best in water design and management from the Netherlands, such as De Urbanisten, Deltares, Volker Infra Design, ZUS and 75B.

Aug 30, 2013

The Center for Advanced Urbanism is pleased to announce the line up for its 2013-14 Lecture Series. They will be held on Monday evenings in the Long Lounge (7-429).

The series will begin on 9th September with Vishaan Chakrabarti, Principal at SHoP Architects, and Director of CURE, Columbia University. Alongside his seminar entitled A Country of Cities, there will also be a book signing to mark the release of his latest book by the same name.