Department of Urban Studies and Planning
A major event this year was reaccreditation of the Masters in City Planning (MCP) program. The final report of this rigorous process reaffirmed the Department of Urban Studies and Planning's (DUSP) position as the premier planning school in the U.S. The report gave high marks to excellent faculty leadership, an intellectually strong student body, a broad and diverse curriculum, exemplary student services and significant institutional support from MIT.
A top priority for 2000-2001 was to intensify our student recruitment effort. A new video highlights the incredible field opportunities available for students to work in collaboration with faculty on real-world planning problems. This unique tie between theoretical academic studies and field-based action research is one of the continuing allures of the program. Another critical component to the department's outreach efforts is a new initiative to reinvolve our alumni/ae in the life of the department. A series of open houses were held in U.S. cities to both recruit prospective students, as well as to reconnect with alumni/ae.
Space continues to have a big impact on the life of the department. While renovations are currently underway in Buildings 9 and 3, there is still a shortage of classroom and office space. We are anxiously awaiting the availability of space in Building 33.
The department launched plans for a series of annual joint studios with faculty and students from the University of Cambridge, as part of the Cambridge-MIT partnership (CMI). The first of these studios (to commence in fall 2001) will propose design strategies for accommodating growth pressures in Cambridge, England. The focus will be on seeking configurations of urban form and implementation mechanisms that will facilitate university/industry relationships and will enable enhanced creativity, innovation and productivity-while at the same time sustaining the extraordinary quality of Cambridge's environment. The studio is the initial joint activity committed to by CMI as a part of a much larger and longer collaboration, still under consideration by CMI, that creates a Joint Center for Urban and Regional Innovation.
At the request of the Provost, Bish Sanyal, Chair of the Department, joined a team of three senior faculty to visit Delft, The Netherlands last June and begin a discussion for a multi-year joint research effort. The department hosted a return visit by a number of Technical University of Delft (TUD) faculty in October, and participated actively in a joint teaching studio at TUD last January on the theme of "Open Design Methods." Later, DUSP participated actively in hosting a large delegation of faculty from TUD in May, and is currently deeply engaged in revising the first research proposal for the purpose of fund raising.
The intellectual life of the department is organized largely around the activities of the five program groups, which reflect major areas of current planning practice: City Design and Development; Environmental Policy; Housing, Community and Economic Development; International Development and Regional Planning; and Planning Support Systems (Information Technology). Some highlights of the past year include the following:
During the fall of 2000, faculty and students from the City Design and Development (CDD) group conducted a studio investigating possible futures for the Southwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the city's planning department (headed by a DUSP alum) and other neighborhood organizations. The studio posed alternatives for residential, commercial, and waterfront development, and attracted great attention from city officials and residents.
CDD students and faculty participated in two well-attended special colloquia held at MIT. The first, entitled "Metropolitanism in Practice," examined the benefits and pitfalls of strategies for cross-jurisdictional political, economic, and spatial integration at the scale of the metropolitan region. The second, "Urban Narratives: Making the City Speak," explored ways to activate the surface spaces freed up by the depression of Boston's Central Artery. CDD faculty conducted this workshop in conjunction with faculty from the Media Lab, New York designer Gregory Beck (an MIT alumnus), and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The students' proposals have been featured in Architectural Record and on a sophisticated web site.
The results of the fall 1998 CDD colloquium and seminar on "Imaging the City" have recently been published as a book, edited by Professors Lawrence J. Vale and Sam Bass Warner Jr. The book examines one aspect of the legacy of MIT's Kevin Lynch, by exploring ways that city designers can shape urban images proactively.
The Environmental Policy Group (EPG) is currently conducting a series of comparative studies focusing on public policies that encourage sustainable development in various parts of the world. The Environmental Technology and Public Policy Program (within EPG), with support from the Dutch Government, completed the initial phase of a multi-year study on policies to facilitate environmental innovation and public entrepreneurship networks. The group also recently launched an environmental justice initiative that includes teaching, research, and capacity building activities. A new research project on Community Environmental Monitoring in the U.S. and across global supply chains was also begun this year.
EPG hosted a number of distinguished visitors during the year, including Professor Roland Scholz, Chair of Environmental Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; Ernesto Cortes from the Industrial Areas Foundation, and Dr. Hillel Shuval, from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. EPG offered a joint course with Professor Wim Hafkamp of Erasmus University on sustainable development. A number of EPG students spent Independent Activities Period (IAP) at the Technical University of Delft working on sustainability issues related to airport planning.
With a great deal of help from a number of graduate students, EPG has modified its curriculum-adding a series of methods modules and several courses dealing with environmental justice, brownfields redevelopment, environmental leadership, and industrial ecology. A new studio course in environmental planning was developed which funded a group of students to travel to Palawan Island, Philippines, to interact with agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on ecological protection. Faculty in EPG also organized and hosted a number of conferences and workshops including the "Civic Environmentalism Roundtable" series which involved 10 leading scholars and four regional funders, and a "Regional Sustainable Development Forum" keynoted by Senator John Kerry and attended by over 300 participants.
The Housing, Community, and Economic Development (HCED) group continued to focus on how urban neighborhoods respond to the devolution of federal policy and the decreasing demand for low-skilled labor. Guest speakers focused on local efforts to deal with that devolution. This year, the group took on two additional issues: the role of community organizing in place- and faith-based organizations and the combination of physical and economic development in neighborhood commercial revitalization. The first of these resulted in a series of seminars in early April which featured Ernesto Cortes of the Industrial Areas Foundation and representatives from religious and nonprofit communities involved in organizing in Massachusetts. The second initiative involved the introduction of a studio course which provided assistance to the Boston Main Streets program in two neighborhoods. The course, taught by Senior Lecturer Karl Seidman, turned out to be a successful exercise in combining talents from HCED and the Design and Development program group and bodes well for future efforts to establish studios that cut across the program groups. Martin Luther King Visiting Professor J. Philip Thompson taught a course on urban politics and had a formative role in a departmental dialog on issues of race, class and gender. Recommendations from a report on these issues were subsequently incorporated into the department's long-range strategic plan.
The faculty in the International Development and Regional Planning (IDRP) group are involved in seven major multi-year research and teaching activities, each involving two to seven graduate students and/or SPURS (Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies) Fellows. For the group, one of the highlights of the year was the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, which is the largest environmental prize in the world, being awarded to the World Commission on Dams. Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal, an IDRP faculty member, assisted in developing a legal and policy framework for assessing the social and ecological impact of large dams. He also worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) staff to operationalize human rights in the development process and to start an international research project on globalization and localization, focusing initially on South Asia. In addition, he helped established MIT's Program on Human Rights and Justice, as a collaborative effort between DUSP and the Center for International Studies. The program has organized several events including a speaker series, and aims to develop student internships and collaborative research projects with the United Nations and other agencies.
A second major highlight was the publication by Professor Alice Amsden of the book The Rise of the Rest: Challenges to the West from Late Industrializing Economies by Oxford University Press. A third important major activity is the conclusion of a World Bank-funded research effort by Professor Jennifer Davis in four South Asian case sites, to investigate the reform of public-sector water and sanitation agencies to boost responsiveness, accountability, and transparency in service delivery. The research team focused on innovative institutional approaches for infrastructure service delivery, including private-sector participation and community-management regimes.
A fourth group of faculty and students, led by Professor Judith Tendler, continues to work on issues of social investment, conducting various research projects in Northeast Brazil. This long-term research project combines extensive field research by Ph.D. and MCP students with seminars held during the academic year related to the research.
Work by the fifth group is in the People's Republic of China (China) where a multidisciplinary team of chemical engineers, physicists, and planners from China, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States are working on energy conservation and pollution-reduction projects in the coke-making sector in Shanxi Province. As part of the Alliance for Global Sustainability, the next phase of the research, led by Professor Karen Polenske, will be to investigate the energy-efficiency at iron and steel complexes that are large users of coke in neighboring provinces. The team is making a video for use as part of a web-based book on the project.
A sixth group, led by Visiting Lecturer Anna Hardman, is working on the impacts of rent decontrol on housing markets in Egypt. A seventh group is studying the increase of mobility and motorization in developing countries. This phenomenon poses a serious threat to environmental, social, and economic conditions especially in major cities. Many of the research efforts by the IDRP group focus on comparative studies between industrialized and developing countries. Overall, the faculty and students are working or planning to work on all continents, with the latest planned activity being a collaborative project with Boston University on water in African cities. This initiative engages a series of inter-related questions regarding the changing form and function of African cities; the variety of institutions and communities found therein; and the relationship of these entities to water and waste. In each case, we will bring expertise in both urban and regional planning (MIT) and interdisciplinary social sciences (BU) to bear in collaborative investigations of these complex issues.
Recent advances in information technologies have enabled the location and spatial interaction of people, buildings, and events to be tracked, modeled, visualized, and manipulated as never before. The result has been an explosion of new opportunities-and risks-ranging from new "location based" services, e-government experiments, environmental monitoring, and urban simulation models to privacy concerns, micro-redlining accusations, and digital divide questions. The Planning Support Systems (PSS) group has continued its innovative research and educational activities on many of these issues. New support from the Open GIS Consortium and the Federal Geographic Data Committee has expanded the group's work on the interoperable Geographic Information Systems (GIS). These next-generation GIS tools and standards provide the interoperability and modularity that metropolitan agencies and NGOs need to coordinate programs and share spatially referenced data effectively. Collaborative research with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Center for Transportation Studies has also expanded to include IT-related transportation planning work with the Chicago Transit Authority as well as with Puerto Rico's new "Tren Urbano." PSS work on community networking and electronic neighborhoods has also expanded with the addition of Professor Keith Hampton to the faculty this spring. Other active research areas include modeling urban "respiration" (how land-use planning can affect metropolitan air pollution patterns), welfare-to-work accessibility, land use and transportation interactions, urban design assistance, political redistricting, and representation aides for environmental impact assessment and collaborative planning. Each of these areas has involved class projects and thesis work with "real world" partners and impacts involving several federal, state, regional, and local agencies and NGOs. Several of these agencies and organizations have hired recent graduates. Other graduates have undertaken a variety of positions ranging from a postdoc at Harvard and a faculty appointment in Texas to founding a "startup" that is an "application service provider" of mapping services for municipal agencies.
Our graduate programs enrolled 195 students this year. Of the total, 55 percent were women, nine percent were students of color, and 28 percent were international students. The department granted 45 MCP, four S.M., and five Ph.D. degrees. The department aims to increase the percentage of minority enrollment to 25 percent.
Faculty continued to offer a wide array of for-credit offerings during the Professional Development Institute held in the Independent Activities Period (IAP). In addition to Introduction to Computers in Public Management II-required of all first-year Master's students-seven additional for-credit courses were offered this year: Management Fundamentals for Leaders in Non-Profit Organizations; Designing Access to Leadership Development; Digital Storytelling and Community Building; Environmental Planning Workshop: Risk Analysis and Management; Inner City Revitalization: An Alternative Smart Growth Strategy; Bridging Racial and Cultural Differences; and, Neighborhoods and Networks. These classes, combined with non-credit offerings, attracted both undergraduate and graduate students from across the Institute, alumni/ae and local professionals.
The Master's in City Planning (MCP) Committee devoted much of its time this year to revitalizing the core curriculum of the Masters in City Planning program. This is the flagship academic program of our department that was last revised over a decade ago. The major thrust of the new curriculum is to reassert the common values and practices that bind together the different areas of specialization within the department and the profession. Within recent years, these areas have become increasingly independent, threatening our focus on the core mission of city planning.
The new curriculum will also strengthen our connection to the profession, by ensuring that all students have experience in the practice of city planning-synthesizing solutions to urban problems in the field. Specific elements of the new curriculum that have been adopted by the faculty include:
- A new "Gateway" subject on the cross-cutting issues of planning and political economics that all students will be required to take;
- A requirement that all specialization areas offer an introductory subject accessible to all students (The aim is to increase understanding of the specializations and to encourage students to learn about more than one.);
- Integration of computing skills into the content of core subjects rather than offering separate computer classes. (New or revised subjects will include: quantitative reasoning and computing; communications and computing; research methods and computing.); and
- A requirement that all MCP graduates participate in a practicum workshop that challenges them to synthesize planning solutions for communities and clients in the field.
Subcommittees are now working to operationalize these changes, which will be put in place by the fall of 2002.
Financial aid for master's students continues to be a critical issue. We have committed to graduate fellowships the full $225,000 in Pool A funding which we received from the Institute. This has made a big impact on our ability to attract the best students and our admissions yield was significantly higher this year than in past years. The problem is still not completely solved and we continue to raise funds to launch a special fund for those graduates going on to low-paying careers in public service.
The Ph.D. Committee addressed a number of issues during the year, including methodological course requirement, shifting the timing and content of the first-year methods course, and the process by which Ph.D. students are admitted. Further work on these issues will continue next year.
During 2000-2001, the Undergraduate Committee continued to focus on developing the community of undergraduate majors and integrating them into department-wide activities. The committee continues to focus its attention to the design and maintenance of the undergraduate curriculum and its three tracks: Urban and Environmental Planning, Urban Studies, and Urban and Regional Public Policy. As a result of this restructuring, several new undergraduate subjects were created in the 2000-2001 academic year.
Continuing the success of earlier study trips to Montreal, London, and Barcelona, the department continued its commitment to offering an annual study trip for undergraduate majors. During IAP 2001, Professor Robert Fogelson led a study trip to Venice, Italy in which eight majors participated. The trip was preceded by a fall seminar introducing planning and development issues in Venice.
The interdisciplinary Minor in Public Policy, a program for which we share responsibility with our colleagues in the Department of Political Science, is now in its second year of operation.
Our undergraduates continue to be involved in a wide variety of community-based activities, most notably planning for new on-campus housing. The department has made a commitment to assisting these outside activities of our students in whatever way possible.
In the fall of 1999, the department welcomed to its faculty Dr. Eric Klopfer, the new director of the Teacher Education Program (TEP). Through the TEP, MIT undergraduates can complete certification in secondary math and science teaching. While the number of students currently certified by the TEP is relatively small, it does certify teachers in high-need areas such as physics and mathematics. The unique approach that the TEP takes to teacher education is looked to as a model by the American Association of Universities and other institutions nationwide.
Over the last year the TEP has strengthened its relationship with the Cambridge Public Schools through collaborative projects. At the same time, it has initiated new relationships with the Boston Public Schools, especially Boston High School. Dr. Klopfer has also hosted summer institutes on educational technology for Boston area teachers in conjunction with the TEP.
For more information on the Teacher Education Program see http://education.mit.edu/.
Our graduate and undergraduate students received many awards from national and international organizations, the Institute, and the department.
At its annual Commencement Breakfast, the department awarded the following: The American Institute of Certified Planners, Outstanding Student Award was presented to Master's in City Planning (MCP) student Jennifer James of Schenectady, NY. The Departmental Service Award was given to MCP students Tunua Thrash of Los Angeles, CA and Ana Lasso of Huntington Park, CA. Natasha Freidus of New York, NY received the prize for Outstanding MCP Thesis, and Shanna Wasserman of Anchorage, AK received an Honorable Mention. The Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis/Project award went to Yanni Tsipis of Boston, MA, with an Honorable Mention to Stefani Okasaki of Kensington, CA. The Wallace, Floyd Award for City Design went to to first-year MCP student Alexis Bennett of Venice, CA and the Flora Crockett Stephenson Writing Prize was presented to Ambika Prokop of Sunnyvale, CA. Support staff of the department who were honored included S. Holly Kosisky for Outstanding Contribution to the Intellectual Life of the Department and Janice O'Brien for Outstanding Service by Support Staff. A Special Departmental Citation went to Duncan Kincaid.
During the past year, DUSP students have won the following awards: Ph.D. student Raquel Gomes of Potomac, MD received an Industrial Performance Center Doctoral Fellowship. Mellon-MIT Program on NGOs and Forced Migration Research Grants went to MCP students Shahid Punjani of Vancouver, Canada and Katrina Simon of Stone Mountain, GA, and Ph.D. student Smita Srinivas of Bangalore, India. MCP student Bilal Zia of Pakistan won a Carroll Wilson Award, and a Kelly Travelling Fellowship was awarded to undergraduate Sandy Pae of New York, NY. MCP student Tunua Thrash of Los Angeles, CA received the Umoja "Unity" Leadership Award from the Graduate Student Office. Ming Zhang of Wuhan, China won a UPS Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the MIT Center for Transportation Studies and Monica Pinhanez of Sao Paulo, Brazil received a Center for International Studies Doctoral Research Fellowship. Jonna Anderson of Vancouver, WA was inducted into the MIT Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Jovonne Bickerstaff of Akron, OH won a Peter J. Eloranta Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and Sara Jo Elice of Scarsdale, NY received the Dean A. Horn Award.
Students won the following awards from outside of MIT: Senior Stefani Okasaki of Kensington, CA won a Henry Martinelli Fellowship. MCP student Adam Varat of Pacific Palisades, CA was selected for the EDAW Summer Student Program. Carol Tucker, MCP student from Westford, MA won a Switzer Environmental Fellowship and Tami Chuang, MCP student from Palo Alto, CA was a Second Place Winner in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and Citizen's Housing and Planning Association's Affordable Housing Competition. George Proakis of Boston, MA received a Community Service Award from the Fenway Community Development Corporation. Cybele Chang of Glencoe, Illinos was awarded an American Association of University Women and a Switzer Environmental Fellowship.
MCP student Apiwat Ratanawaraha of Bangkok, Thailand won a Harvard-Yenching Scholarship; Jennifer James of Schnectady, NY received a Rappaport Foundation Fellowship; and Tunua Thrash of Los Angeles, CA was named an Emerging Leader by the National Congress of Community and Economic Development. Ph.D. students Genevieve Connors of New York, NY and Celina Su of East Brunswick, NJ received Honorable Mention from the NSF Graduate Fellowship Research Program. Ming Zhang of Wuhan, China was awarded a Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Dissertation Fellowship. Monica Pinhanez of Sao Paulo, Brazil won an International Labor Organization Phelan Fellowship, and Pierre Fallavier of Boulogne Billancourt, France received both a Fulbright Fellowship and a Cercle Universitaire Franco-Americain Travel Grant.
Department of Housing and Urban Development Fellows for this year included MCP students Tunua Thrash of Los Angeles, CA; George Samuels of Harlem, NY; Manuel Martinez of Roxbury, MA; Jesse Williamson of Berkeley, CA; Antonio Gonzalez of San Francisco, CA; and Marisa Gaither of Los Angeles, CA. Woodrow Wilson/Public Policy and International Affairs Fellows were MCP students Tunua Thrash of Los Angeles, CA; Katrina Simon of Stone Mountain, GA; Diana Auburg of Cambridge, MA; and James Wilson of Los Angeles, CA.
Local alumni/ae continued to play an active role in sponsoring internships for students, providing career advice at the alumni/ae career forums organized by each of the department's program groups and participating as guest lecturers in numerous classes. An urban design studio course looked at some of the planning challenges facing DUSP alumnus Andrew Altman, Director of Planning for the District of Columbia. DC-area alumni/ae were invited to the class presentations to the community. More than a dozen alumni/ae from across the country joined Chancellor Phil Clay, Department Chair Bish Sanyal, and other DUSP faculty at the first meeting of the DUSP Alumni/ae National Advisory Board. This day-long session was held in October to set the agenda for the new alumni/ae relations initiative launched in collaboration with the MIT Alumni/ae Association. Many local alumni/ae joined this group at a reception featuring a talk by new faculty member Professor Anne Whiston Spirn. DUSP alumni/ae again made a significant contribution at the DUSP Open House in New York City in the fall. A monthly electronic newsletter has been added to the print publications we use to keep in touch with our alumni/ae. The spring DUSP/TPP (Technology and Policy Program) Career Day again drew a good number of DUSP alumni/ae to the campus to acquaint current students with their organizations and recruit for current openings. Departmental receptions held at the annual conferences of the American Planning Association and Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning provided venues to catch up with alumni/ae from across the country.
The award for Best Book in Urban Affairs published in 1999 or 2000 from the Urban Affairs Association was given to Professor and Associate Department Head Lawrence Vale for From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors. Professor Frank Levy was a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy. Professor Ceasar McDowell won a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in Residence in Bellagio, Italy.
The department hosted two Martin Luther King Visiting Professors: Raul Lejano and J. Philip Thompson, both of whom will be returning next year. Two new faculty members will be joining the department next year. Professor Diane Davis specializes in the politics of urban policy, urban history, cities and national development and policing and public security. Her addition to the faculty brings the number of senior tenured women faculty up to five. Professor Lorlene Hoyt focuses on municipal geographic information systems, business improvement districts, and public service systems.
Faculty departures this year included Aixa Cintron, Qing Shen, Mike Shiffer, and Paul Smoke-all of whom left for tenured positions at other universities. The department conducted a search in the spring to replace Professor Cintron with a minority faculty member. An offer was made to a candidate, but was not accepted. The department has hired a search firm to begin a new search next year.
The Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) hosted eleven fellows from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Korea, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Taiwan, and Venezuela. Three of this year's fellows were from last year's group who continued on to earn the M.S. SPURS degree. The work of the fellows embraced several fields, including environmental and regional planning, urban design, sustainable development, regional industrialization, community affairs, and transportation infrastructure. In January, the fellows organized a seminar entitled "Global Forces and Local Spaces." Each SPURS Fellow made a presentation of his/her work. The presentations were followed by discussion generated by two invited guests who are experts in the fields of architecture and public policy. This year's traditional SPURS Luncheon Seminars, where distinguished speakers from cross-disciplinary areas came to share their research and experiences, were held on Mondays. The fellows also had regular Wednesday evening meetings where each fellow presented their research project and received feedback from their peers. The fellows have also organized several professional trips to Washington, DC, New York City, and Chicago. While in these cities, they had the opportunity to visit with professionals from the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), other international organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, non-profit organizations, and professional organizations such as the American Institute of Architects. The purposes of these meetings varied, from learning about the organization, to obtaining information for their research projects, to networking for future job opportunities.
The Center for Reflective Community Practice (CRCP) continued into its second year by launching the newest version of its national community fellows program, the Reflective Practitioner Fellowship. Fourteen fellows from 12 communities attended two retreats and two intensive residency periods to acquire reflective practices and use them for expanding their thinking about their work. In addition, the center sponsored an ongoing Community Scholar in Springfield, MA, who continued to develop and build capacity for a CRCP partnership with her community. As a result, Springfield will officially be the center's first community partner starting fall 2001. The center's first Research Fellow developed a research and evaluation capacity aimed at documenting the tools, outcomes, and processes of the reflective practice methodology offered to communities and community leaders.
In January, the center conducted two IAP courses that brought its approach to community, technology, and reflective practice to MIT students and affiliates. One course was a design studio aimed at developing a web site for an online leadership learning community. The other taught digital storytelling technology as a tool for community building and reflection on diversity issues. CRCP also offered its first community digital storytelling workshop to residents and leaders in Springfield, MA. The center sponsored several symposia related to community and reflective practice.
The center continued its work toward making information technology broadly accessible. Its flagship project in this area, connecting all the residents in a Boston housing complex to the Internet and assisting them in creating their own information system, marked the opening of the community computer center and the installation of cutting edge computer and communications equipment.
Starting this year a new area of work for the center was R&D partnerships with foundations that sponsor community-building work. CRCP is working with these foundations to design processes for learning and reflection from and by their grantees. This represents an additional level in the field of social justice and community work to introduce reflective practice as a means of creating new thinking, questioning assumptions, and heightening learning capacity in individual practitioners, community groups, and the foundations who sponsor community initiatives.
In 2001-2002, the center will be working aggressively to develop its work with two community groups in Springfield, to design and run a studio course for DUSP students to do R&D projects for the Springfield groups, and to develop further methodologies for carrying out and capturing reflective practices. Details of all of the CRCP activities are available on its web site at http://web.mit.edu/crcp/.
Faculty raised $360,500 in new funds for the following projects.
Professor Dara O'Rourke was awarded a grant for $115,500 out of a total of $1 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for the "Project on Public Problem Solving." It will be completed over three years in collaboration with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and Columbia University Law School. The research project will study and develop theoretical accounts of new forms of public sector problem solving involving direct deliberation, pooling of knowledge on local innovations, and centralized monitoring and accountability around environmental and educational problems.
Research Scientist Tom Piper received $100,000 from State Street Bank to organize "After the Big Dig: A Boston Conference on the Future Land Above the Central Artery."
Professor Joseph Ferreira raised $55,000 from the U.S. Department of the Interior's Federal Geographic Data Committee that is charged with enabling a National Spatial Data Infrastructure. The project expands previous work on MITOrthoTools to facilitate web-based access to orthophoto imagery (corrected aerial photos).
For the sixth funding cycle, the department received $90,000 from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to support minority and economically disadvantaged graduate students.
More information about the department can be found on the newly redesigned web site at http://dusp.mit.edu/.