DUSP: Discover Urban Studies and Planning


80% of Americans and 50% of people worldwide live in urban areas.  Almost all population growth in the next 50 years will take place in cities—mostly in the developing world.  Have you ever wondered how cities work, and what their impact is on the people who live in them and the surrounding landscape?  In the Department of Urban Studies & Planning, we investigate the dynamics of cities in both the developed and developing world.  Using technology and applied social science we work to understand and design solutions to real-world urban problems, such as poverty and environmental degradation.  Our goal is to train students to be creative, nimble problem-solvers who can work anywhere in the world on the problems facing cities in the 21st century.

The Program

This program provides a four-day whirlwind tour of Greater Boston, from the inside out.  Our goal is to give students a sense of how one of America’s historic cities has developed and is responding to the sustainability challenge of the 21st century.  Together with faculty and students, we invite you to learn the ideas behind urban development – and then explore them in action in your new home of Boston.

What We’ll Do

The FPOP will include a mix of classroom presentations, interactive activities, and tours of the City around us.  Among the specific issues we’ll consider are:

  • How do people get around in cities, and how do urban transit systems work?
  • How is urban green space designed, and how does green space affect urban life?
  • What are cities doing to become more environmentally sustainable?
  • How can cities preserve diversity and promote affordability?
  • How can computers, modeling, and simulation help us understand and respond to new urban challenges
  • How vulnerable are coastal cities to climate change, and what are they doing to adapt to sea-level rise, storms, and other consequences?

Along the way, we will explore some key area in and around Boston, such as:

  • The South End and the view from the Top of the Prudential Center
  • The Back Bay, Boston Common, and the Emerald Necklace
  • The Rose Kennedy Greenway, from the North End to Chinatown
  • City Hall, the State House, and the offices of the Boston Redevelopment Authority

Additional trips may include the the Boston Harbor Island or the Historic Mill City of Lowell, MA.

DUSP Specifics

  • Schedule: Thursday, August 23 - Sunday, August 26
  • Available Spaces: 15.
  • Cost: None.