The Gateway class has three interconnected objectives. First, to help students with diverse backgrounds and equally diverse professional destinations understand that they are part of a larger community of professionals who are interested to improve the quality of life either at the community, city, regional or even national level. Second, the course will build on the experience and idealism of students by sensitizing them to organizational issues which affect the way normative yearnings and good intentions are ultimately expressed as actions by various institutions – public, private and non-governmental. And, third, the course will sensitize the students as to why some professionals are more effective than others in influencing social betterment efforts, and what kind of professional knowledge and skills contribute to such effectiveness.
The course attempts to achieve these multiple objectives by starting with historical accounts of how others with normative yearnings had acted, the impact of such actions, both intended and unintended, and the lesson the students can draw as they join the community of professionals with similar intentions. The course relies on both lectures and case studies to cultivate an organizational understanding of how planning efforts unfold in practice, and why some efforts are more successful than others. Also, the case studies introduce the students to the diversity of thinking among the DUSP faculty. Jointly, the lectures and case studies provide an understanding of the mindset and skills of effective planners and, hopefully, will reinforce the students’ confidence in their own ability to become innovative practitioners. Extensive discussions and debates among the students themselves are necessary to build a sense of an emerging community of budding practitioners. Such discussions in small groups are a central learning mechanism for the course whose purpose is to help students develop the art of persuasion, self-reflection, and consensus building for social actions.
D-Lab (I) is the first of a series of three courses spanning a full academic year. The Fall class introduces the students to classical theories of economic, social, and political modernizations focusing on the role of technological change in the multifaceted process of development of newly industrializing nations. Drawing on theories as well as case studies and hands-on exercises, the course introduces the students to the potential as well as deficiencies of the dominant models of technological innovation focused particularly on the needs and capabilities of poor households. The students are encouraged to develop specific plans for innovative technical solutions and test out such plans during IAP through site visits to poor communities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America where they work with host institutions in fostering technological change and institution building.
For more information on D-Lab, see the course website
This introductory course is structured to cultivate the key sensibilities necessary for effective planning practice in newly industrializing countries. The word "sensibility" refers to an awareness of key developmental issues, interdependent causalities, and anticipated as well as unanticipated consequences of social action which mark most planning efforts. In cultivating such sensibilities, this course will use examples from varying institutional settings, ranging from the local to the international levels, and probe how the particularities of each setting call for an awareness of particular institutional opportunities and constraints that planners need to account for when devising planning strategies.
An archive of this course is available to the public on MIT OpenCourseWare
This course examines interrelationships among low-income households, small-scale, income-generating activities, and the urban economy in developing countries. It explores theories of employment and analyses of "bazaar economies". It further reviews policy options for enhancing the informal sector's contribution to development, including the role of women and the possibilities of nonmonetary activities.
This studio course in Spring 2007 examined how cities grow without infrastructure.
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Room 9-435A, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology | 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA