Beyond Smart cities
Date: TBD Summer 2015 | Tuition: TBD | Continuing Education Units (CEUs): TBD
*This course has limited enrollment. Apply early to guarantee your spot.
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The world is experiencing a period of extreme urbanization. In China alone, more than 250 million rural inhabitants will move to urban areas over the next 15 years. This will require building new infrastructure to accommodate nearly the equivalent of the current population of the United States in a matter of a few decades. Cities in the 21st century will account for nearly 90% of global population growth, 80% of wealth creation, and 60% of total energy consumption. It is a global imperative to develop systems that improve the livability of cities while dramatically reducing resource consumption. This course will focus on understanding the complexities of cities through the use of Big Data Urban Analytics and the design of New Urban Systems for high-density cities such as systems for mobility, energy, food, and living/working. The design of these systems must be resilient, scalable, and reconfigurable.
Today, academic research and industrial applications in the area of “Smart Cities” seek to optimize existing city infrastructure, networks, and urban behavior through the deployment and utilization of digital networks. Cities that employ optimization techniques have reported improvements in energy efficiency, water use, public safety, road congestion, and many other areas. However, optimization has its limits. For instance, the improvement of traffic flow in most cities can approach 10% based on current “Smart Cities” approaches such as sensing the road network, predicting the demand, and controlling traffic signaling. Research and investments in new urban systems are fundamentally critical because optimization will have little effect for rapidly urbanizing cities such as Bangalore, India, which experience around the clock congestion. This course moves beyond “Smart Cities” by focusing on disruptive innovations in technology, design, planning, policy, and strategies that can bring dramatic improvements in urban livability and sustainability.
This course aims to develop a holistic model for high-performance urban living based on the concept of “Compact Urban Cells” – a neighborhood area of approximately one square kilometer in diameter containing most of what citizens need for everyday life within a 20-minute walk. This course will introduce the following key elements for Compact Urban Cells:
- Resilient Urban Cells – compact, walkable neighborhood where places of living, work, culture, shopping, and play are within short reach and support a rich diversity of interactions and activities
- New Mobility Systems – Electric-based and shared alternatives to the private fossil-fueled automobile are more convenient, affordable, pleasurable, and can essentially eliminate traffic congestion
- Resilient Energy Systems – microgrids and locally-produced renewables create agile, adaptable, efficient energy networks
- Living Space on Demand – hyper-efficient and transformable micro-apartments that are affordable, fun, and productive for young professionals in the creative heart of the city
- Shared Co-Working Facilities – co-working facilities, cafés, "fab labs" (fabrication laboratories), and other shared facilities support innovation and entrepreneurship
- Urban Food Production – advanced urban agriculture systems integrated onto rooftops and façades of buildings efficiently deliver high-quality produce and help solve food security problems
- Responsive Technologies – innovative systems enable powerful new applications that improve the life of each resident in areas of health, energy conservation, mobility, and communications
- Trust Networks – privacy is assured for otherwise invasive systems that make use of highly personal data such as mobility patterns and resource consumption (food, water, energy, and individual health profiles)
The course will be divided into three learning methods 1) lectures by course faculty and guests from academia and industry, 2) participatory group design work in “charrette” sessions (a type of brainstorming), and 3) critique by faculty and invited experts. Using the MIT campus and the Kendall Square area as a potential site for deployment, course participants will work on a series of short in-class assignments that focus on solving practical urban problems. The goal of the workshop is for participants to engage in critical thinking about the technological, social, cultural, and economic challenges for achieving smart sustainable cities in order to return to their community, corporation, or institution to implement positive change.
Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (25%)
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (25%)
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world 25%)
Real-World Implementation: Design and decision-making for change (25%)
Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (33%)
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (33%)
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (33%)
Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (50%)
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (25%)
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (25%)
- Understand the current environmental, energy, housing, health, food, and mobility issues facing cities.
- Build a knowledge base of the latest technological innovations, strategies, and policies being developed by industry and academia that are being deployed in cities and understand the benefit and cost tradeoffs for these solutions.
- Develop new concepts and designs by participating in "charrette" sessions that focus on a limited set of core issues connected to real-world implementation.
- Evaluate and critique the technological, design, economic, and policy implications from the "charrette" and follow-up discussions.
- Develop a holistic and system-level perspective on smart sustainable cities that takes an integrative approach towards complex problems leveraging Big Data analytics and strategies related to planning, zoning, and public policy.
Who Should Attend
This program is designed for executives, business unit leaders and managers, financial investors and entrepreneurs, engineers/designers, and urban planners from companies focused on the built environment, personal mobility and transit, energy, IT infrastructure, food, and Smart Cities development.
This program is also designed for government leaders charged with new urban economic development, design of new cities, and urban innovation districts or zones. Participants may include government leaders (e.g. mayors or vice-mayors), ministry and agency leaders, department directors, innovation managers, policymakers, city planners, and civil servants at the city, state, regional, or federal level. This course is open to government leaders in the U.S. and internationally.
*Invited academic or industry experts
- Course Introduction and Overview
- Energy, Environmental, Mobility, Housing, and Food Challenges in Cities
- City Science (introduction)
- Big Data and Urban Informatics
- CityScope (Urban Simulation and Decision Support Systems)
- Urban Mobility Systems (Electric Vehicles, Shared-Use, Fleet Management)
- Charrette #1
- Day 1 overview
- Group dinner (after class)
- Resilient Energy Systems (Smart Grids, Vehicle-to-Grid, Microgrids)
- Urban Housing Systems (Building Energy Efficiency, Transformable Micro-Apartments, Live/Work, Co-working)
- What’s Happening Now Inside the Automobile Industry*
- Data Privacy and Trust Networks*
- Evidence-Based Urban Design
- Charrette #2
- Day 2 overview
- Urban Food Production Systems (Hydroponics, Aquaponics, Aeroponics, Vertical Urban Farming)
- Urban Development Ventures and Entrepreneurship*
- Autonomous Driving Technologies*
- Governance, Public Policy, and Incentives
- Charrette No. 3
- Final Review and Critique*
- Course overview and wrap-up
Course schedule and registration times
Class runs 8:30 am - 5:00 pm each day.
Laptops with Powerpoint and Excel are required.
About the Lecturers
Kent Larson directs the Changing Places research group at the MIT Media Lab. He is also director of the MIT House_n Research Consortium and the MIT Living Labs initiative in the School of Architecture and Planning. Current research is focused on four related areas:
- Urban Mobility: integrated approaches to urban mobility that include shared-use, dynamically priced mobility systems as well as autonomous vehicle control for driverless parking and charging. The group is also developing strategies for creating mass-customized vehicles that take advantage of wheel robots, skateboard chassis, and drive-by-wire technology. The MIT Media Lab CityCar is one instance of this approach.
- CityHome: mass-customized, zero-energy urban housing that responds to the unique needs and values of individuals. Researchers are developing strategies to disentangle places of living into four independently configured layers: high-performance chassis; integrated, user-designed infill; responsive façade modules; and wireless technology. Several prototypes have been created with these concepts, including a zero-energy home at Unity College, Maine for the school's president and a multi-family apartment complex with customizable units in Cambridge, MA.
- Ubiquitous Technologies: wireless sensing, algorithms, and interfaces to understand and respond to human activity as well as environmental and market conditions. Projects range from fine-grained activity recognition using tiny wireless sensors, a persuasive thermostat using GPS location of occupants, and a context-aware tunable LED lighting for office environments.
- Living Lab Experiments: deploying and testing design and technology solutions in actual living environments. Studies have been conducted at the scale of the person, home, office, and city.
Larson practiced architecture for 15 years in New York City. He has won numerous design awards, with work published in Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Global Architecture, the New York Times, A+U, Architectural Digest, Metropolis, and Time Magazine as a "Best Design of the Year" project. His book, Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterworks was selected as one of the Ten Best Books in Architecture, 2000 by the New York Times Review of Books.
Dr. Ryan C.C. Chin is the managing director of the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on developing new urban systems for a post-oil, connected world. He earned his Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab in 2012 by creating Mobility-on-Demand (MoD) Systems—a network of one-way, shared-use, lightweight electric vehicles (LEVs) enabled by electric charging infrastructure and smart fleet management systems. Under Dr. Chin's leadership, the Smart Cities research group developed a series of LEVs for MoD systems in collaboration with industry, including the CityCar (with GM), the RoboScooter (with Sanyang Motors), and the GreenWheel Electric Bicycle (start-up in Taiwan). Dr. Chin's research led to the group's first major publication, Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century, written by William J. Mitchell (his advisor), Chris Borroni-Bird (GM), and Lawrence Burns (GM), published by MIT Press in January of 2010.
Dr. Chin has also led MIT's collaboration with Hiriko, a new electric car manufacturer based in Spain, to develop a commercial version of the CityCar—a foldable, sharable, modular, electric two-passenger vehicle that utilizes four modular in-wheel electric motors with integrated steering and suspension (called Robot Wheels).
Dr. Chin's Ph.D. thesis, entitled "Smart Customization: Making Evidence-Based Environmental Decisions," focused on utilizing Mass Customization strategies to improve the sustainability of products.
Chin has been a keynote speaker and panelist at conferences such as MIT's Emerging Technologies Conference (EmTech), TEDx, SIGGRAPH, Convergence, China Planning Network (CPN), MIT World, and Gridweek. Dr. Chin earned a Master of Science in Media Arts and Sciences (2004) and a Master of Architecture (2000) at MIT and bachelor's degrees in Civil Engineering (1997) and Architecture (1997) from the Catholic University of America.
- http://cities.media.mit.edu (City Science Initiative)
- http://cp.media.mit.edu (Changing Places)
- http://scg.mit.edu (Smart Customization)
This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please contact the Short Programs Office for further details.
Links & Resources
- MIT Media Lab’s CityCar concept video - Download for Mac | Windows
- TEDxBoston: Ryan Chin talks about Smart Cities: Sustainable Urban Mobility-on-Demand
- TED Talk: Kent Larson on Rethinking Cities
- The commercial version of CityCar launches in Brussels
- CityCar is soon to go into production as featured in the New York Times
- The Boston Globe celebrates MIT's 150th Anniversary with a list of 150 top innovations from the Institute--click here to read #114, the Next Zip Car and Ryan Chin
- MIT World: Ryan Chin talks about The CityCar
- The Futurist - Sustainable Urban Mobility in 2020, article by Ryan Chin
- eWeek video interview - Kent Larson of MIT Has a Platform for Smarter Cities
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