Brent D. Ryan

Associate Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy

Brent D. Ryan is Head of the City Design and Development Group and Associate Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. His research focuses on the aesthetics and policies of contemporary urban design, particularly with respect to current and pressing issues like deindustrialization and climate change. Professor Ryan’s first book Design After Decline: How America rebuilds shrinking cities, was selected by Planetizen as one of its ten best urban planning books of 2012, and his second book, The Largest Art, was published by MIT Press in 2017.

Professor Ryan’s research has been published in the Journal of Urban Design, Journal of Urbanism, Journal of Planning History, Urban Design International, Urban Morphology, and the Journal of the American Planning Association, which awarded his article “Reading Through A Plan” its best article of 2011. Professor Ryan has also written numerous chapters for books including The Routledge Companion to Urban Design, Second Edition; The City After Abandonment; Urban Landscape; The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning; Rethinking Global Urbanism; and Urban Megaprojects: A Worldwide View.

Professor Ryan is currently conducting research in China, examining the urban design dimensions of emerging shrinking cities, and the urban design futures of new town expansion projects. Professor Ryan is also working in Ukraine with the architectural, arts, and planning collective Urban Curators on a study of post-industrial Kyiv, and is in Year Three of a study of sustainability in Siberian cities, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. He is also initiating a study of post-industrial space along the Hooghly river in Kolkata, India, in collaboration with IIT Kharagpur.

Prior to joining MIT, Professor Ryan taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was also Co-Director of the City Design Center. Professor Ryan holds a B.S. in biology from Yale University (1991), a M. Arch. from Columbia University (1994), and a Ph.D. in urban design and planning from MIT (2002).