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Robert Goodspeed


I received a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning in June 2013, and I am now an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Please see my new website at Michigan for information about my current activities.

This website is no longer being updated and will remain available until the end of January 2014.


Doctoral Research: Technology for Participation in Planning
How can technology improve cities by making urban planning decisions more democratic and informed? I am exploring this question through conventional social science and design science research methods, drawing on theories of democracy, participatory governance, and social learning. My first year paper evaluated the openness, representativeness, and feedback of online participation approaches used in a process to write a new comprehensive plan for Austin, Texas. My dissertation uses a mixed-method design to explore how geographic information system (GIS) models are used to facilitate social learning in spatial planning.

Open Government
My research on “open government” connects the political rhetoric of transparency, participation, and collaboration with substantive theories and a focus on practical issues faced by governments. As a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow for the City of Boston in summer 2010, I collaborated with city staff to develop an Open Government Strategy. This document contained recommendations for the city’s open government goals: fostering civic engagement, improving service delivery, and enable citizen-oriented applications through data transparency. A related research project explored how electronic records and the Internet make possible a new paradigm of transparency for municipal geographic data. Through a survey of all 351 Massachusetts municipalities, I explored technology, policy, and practice of municipal geographic information system (GIS) data sharing.

The Future of Technology in Planning
What sociotechnical infrastructures are needed for urban planning? How can new paradigms like “crowdsourcing” be used to collect data, solicit solutions to problems, and re-structure existing processes? Can new digital tools support new forms of community engagement? This strand of my research critically examines new methods to use technology to improve urban life.

I first became interested in urban issues as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, where I wrote a thesis about an early Detroit urban renewal project.

Service and Events

I helped plan PlanningTech@DUSP in 2011, Gov 2.0 Camp New England at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2010, and Data Day 2009 at Northeastern University.

I have participated in a range of service activities at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning including leading the re-launch of the department’s intranet Plaza, co-organized a PhD research workshop, and participating in an orientation bootcamp for master's students.

Professional Experiences

I consulted for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council's Data Services Department from Jan. 2011 through June 2013, on projects including regional projections and development database, a local scenario planning platform, and other analysis projects.

Previously, I founded and developed three place-based blogs: Rethink College Park (2006-2008), DCist.com (2004-2006), ArborUpdate (2004). I discussed Rethink College Park in a conference paper:

  • "Rethinking the Urban Conversation: RethinkCollegePark.net" (paper presented at the Society for City and Regional Planning History 13th Biennial Conference, Oakland, California, 15-18 October 2009), view paper (PDF), and presentation on SlideShare.

MIT Links


rgoodspe at umich.edu

Last updated 20 November 2013