PLAN 74: Article
New Faculty: Brent Ryan

Planning Alum Focused on Urban Revitalization

Brent Ryan has been appointed Assistant Professor in Urban Design and Public Policy.

Since 2007, Ryan has been Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, coordinating and teaching a core urban planning studio as well as options studios and other courses. Before joining the Harvard faculty, he was as an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-director of their City Design Center.

His teaching and research interests focus on the physical dimensions of urban revitalization, particularly in older cities suffering from disinvestment and de-industrialization. A certified urban planner, he worked as a city planner and urban designer at the New York City Department of City Planning and in the Boston metropolitan area prior to receiving his doctorate.

According to department head Amy Glasmeier, ‘Brent’s focus on the role that design can and should play in the education of students of urban planning, and his work on planning and architectural strategies to enhance the built environment of our most challenged cities, integrate very well with the needs and goals of our department. We are very happy to have him joining us.’

Of his new position Ryan says, ‘I'm excited to be returning to DUSP and MIT at an important time for the department and the school, as well as for the urban planning profession. DUSP is extremely well-positioned to reexamine the place that cities will play in the rapidly urbanizing world, and to strengthen the role of planning in influencing the form, efficiency and equity of the world's cities. I'm honored to be able to play a part in MIT’s transformative thinking about cities.’

Ryan received his BS degree in Biology from Yale in 1991, his MArch from Columbia in 1994 and his PhD in Urban Design and Planning from MIT in 2002. He is currently preparing his dissertation for publication as A Void In Planning: Urban Revitalization in the Age of Absence.

Ryan’s publishing history includes the Journal of Urban Design, Journal of the American Planning Association, Urban Morphology, Journal of Planning History, Journal of Urban Design and Urban Design International, as well as contributions to the upcoming Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning and numerous other publications.