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MIT Media Lab

Beyond Smart Cities: Emerging Design and Technology

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Cities are home to more than half of the world’s population, with an additional 2.5 billion citizens expected to reside in urban areas by 2050. As such, there is a growing need for smarter, more sustainable, and more responsive cities of the future.

This six-week online course from the MIT Media Lab will demonstrate how disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) can be leveraged to improve the lives of those who make their homes in the increasingly urban landscape.

Guided by MIT faculty, you’ll learn to engage with the social, cultural, political, and economic forces at work in urban communities, and consider ways to respond to these forces with meaningful solutions to broader challenges.

What will set you apart

Earn a certificate from the MIT Media Lab in this online short course and be empowered to:

  • Recognize and identify the challenges in contemporary city design
  • Discover how data and disruptive technology can be leveraged to improve urban planning
  • Consider strategies for more effective land use, distributed energy systems, and alternative mobility modes for healthier and more sustainable city systems
  • Discuss the importance of integrated design, public policy, and technology in creating successful smart cities

Course curriculum

Discover how technology can be harnessed for more successful and sustainable cities as you follow your learning path through the weekly modules of this online program:

  • Orientation Module: Welcome to Your Online Campus
  • Module 1: Design and Technology For People-centric Cities
  • Module 2: The Mobility Revolution and Urban Robotics
  • Module 3: The Live-Work Transformation: Robotics, Prefabrication, and IoT Technology
  • Module 4: A Network of Neighborhoods: AI, Real-time Simulation, and Emerging Systems
  • Module 5: Sustainable Communities: Local Production and Lower Consumption
  • Module 6: Governance: Token Economies and Algorithmic Zoning for Prosocial Behaviors


Kent Larson directs the Media Lab's Changing Places group. Since 1998, he has also directed the MIT House_n research consortium in the School of Architecture and Planning. His current research is focused on four related areas: responsive urban housing, new urban vehicles, ubiquitous technologies,...


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