Message from the Dean

This spring, we launched a major new research effort here, the Center for Advanced Urbanism, focused on creating new models for 21st century cities.

It is a timely venture.  It seems that everybody is talking about the future of the city these days and at SA+P we think we're positioned to make a unique contribution to that conversation.

Our urban planning program has been ranked Number One in the nation for years, our architecture program has a long and distinguished history in the urban design area and the Media Lab is increasingly engaged in related research, including the newly-formed City Science Initiative.

As part of MIT, we are also surrounded with an unmatched array of faculty in other disciplines – engineering, science, business and the humanities – with whom to collaborate on problem-solving.

With all this expertise to draw on, we feel singularly prepared to tackle large-scale issues of urbanism at a very high level – developing rigorous, reliable, forward-looking theory to serve as a basis for rethinking the entire concept of urbanism.

We have already begun our work,  joining forces with the American Institute of Architects to explore how design can help improve urban health.  And in April, we hosted the first of what will become a series of symposia, this one focused on the design of infrastructure for the long haul.  There is much, much more in the planning stage.  To learn more about the Center and its ambitious program, visit



In this issue:

Introducing the Self-Assembly Lab

Imagine a world in which large-scale man-made structures could assemble themselves, reconfigure themselves or even change their material properties.

Architecture alum and lecturer Skylar Tibbits (SM’10, Design Computation; SM’10, Computer Scien...

Creating New Models for 21st Century Cities

This spring, the School of Architecture + Planning is launching a major new research center focused on the planning, design, construction and retrofitting of urban environments for the 21st century.

Under the leadership of center dire...

A Joint Initiative of the CAU and the AIA

SA+P’s new Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) is joining forces with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in a new research collaboration focused on how design can help improve urban health.

The research will support AIA’s efforts...

A Toronto Symphony Answers with the Help of 10,000 Citizens

In March, the Toronto Symphony presented the world premiere of a new composition by SA+P’s Tod Machover, head of the Media Lab’s Opera of the Future group – a collaboration between the composer and thousands of the cit...

Interactive Sculpture Demonstrates New Heating Technology

Local Warming, an installation outside MIT’s Lobby 7 this spring, demonstrates a new approach to heating commercial buildings, using smart sensors to track individuals’ presence and beaming heat directly to them as they...

A Visit from the Lead Designer of the Revised Urban Planning Game

In March of this year a new version of the enormously popular city-building simulation, SimCity, was introduced with a considerable amount of fanfare in the digital gaming world – an event of particular interest to SA...

Will Share €1 Million Prize with Five Other Researchers

Media Lab professor Ed Boyden has been named a recipient of the 2013 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize, awarded for the development of optogenetics, a technology that makes it possible to control brain activity using lig...

Founder of the New Urban Risk Lab

Architect and Landscape architect Miho Mazereeuw, founder of the new Urban Risk Lab at MIT, has been appointed an assistant professor in the department of architecture.

Working on a large, territorial scale with an interest in public spaces and...

Top Scholar in Real Estate Finance

Walter Torous, one of the nation’s top scholars in real estate finance, has been appointed a Senior Lecturer in the MIT Center for Real Estate for a five-year term, a joint appointment with the Sloan School of Management.

Torous was the Lee an...

Contest Focused on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

For the second year in a row, a team of MIT students – including three this year from SA+P – have won double awards in the Better Buildings Case Competition conducted at the White House by the US Department of Energy.

In support...

MIT’s Fifth Winner of BSA’s Harleston Parker Medal

SA+P’s new Media Lab building, designed by Fumihiko Maki in association with...

A Selection of Spring Exhibits and Events

Suspended City: L’Aquila after the Earthquake of 2009 – Photographs by Michele Nastasi. February 7 - April 18, SA+P’s Wolk Gallery. On April 6, 2009, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the medieval city of L’Aquila in...