The Future of Suburbia exhibition is 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.
News + Events
Professor Meejin Yoon has been awarded the 2017 MIT 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.
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.
The MIT 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.
The MIT 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.
MIT Better World features Water-Conserving Design
The Center will be offering two workshops during IAP (Jan. 2017): a workshop on simulating neighborhood sustainability, and a hands-on lab-based workshop on designing urban wetlands.
The MIT Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism is very pleased to announce the MIT-Philips Lighting Grand Challenge on The Future of Internet of Things in Lighting and Applications Beyond Illumination.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wetlands Design Testing from 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.
In early May, 2016, a research team from the 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.
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 today at a signing ceremony attended by Alan and Sherry Leventhal and other members of Norman Leventhal’s extended family.
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).
Jonathan Mingle: On the global stage, cities may be where the spotlight often falls — but the suburbs are where the action is.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism and Philips Lighting are pleased to announce two projects selected for funding through the MIT-Philips Lighting Grand Challenge: Automated Outlier Detection for Smart Lighting Applications (Professor Sam Madden, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) and Smarter Lighting for Urban Environments Informed by Mobile Phone Activity (Professor Marta Gonzalez, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering).
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.
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.
Infrastructural Monument details the first of two conferences organized by the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism centered around the biennial theme of infrastructure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.