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    Cranes over Shanghai

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DUSP, CRE, and STL Lab award $1.5 million in first round of faculty research funding

Cranes over Shanghai

Thirteen grants awarded to MIT faculty and researchers from four different schools.


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Tom Gearty
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The Samuel Tak Lee MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab (STL Lab), in conjunction with the Center for Real Estate (CRE) and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), has announced its first round of faculty research grants, awarding $1.5 million to 13 MIT researchers and their teams.

The STL Lab is named after Samuel Tak Lee ’62, SM ’64, an alumnus and global real estate developer whose historic gift to MIT in January established the STL Lab to promote social responsibility among entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the real estate profession worldwide, with a particular focus on China.

The STL Lab’s faculty research grants support inventive projects that advance the understanding of opportunities and challenges in real estate development and entrepreneurship. For this round of funding, the STL Lab focused on supporting research projects at two levels: seed grants between $20,000 and $50,000, and larger projects up to $150,000. Thirty-one proposals were submitted, featuring cutting-edge research in:

  • global real estate and sustainable urbanization through private action and entrepreneurship; 

  • urban resilience and adaptation; 

  • land use reform regulations, standards, and codes; 

  • technologies and the built environment: innovative design, new construction materials, 
and real estate and big data; 

  • affordable housing; 

  • environmental aspects of urban growth and development best practices; and 

  • land and real property rights. 


“The quality and number of the proposals that we received was remarkable, given that the STL Lab is only seven months old,” said Yu-Hung Hong, director of the STL Lab. “The cross-disciplinary creativity and ingenuity of the proposals was astounding.”

Funding was granted to projects undertaken by junior and senior MIT faculty and research scientists. The funded projects are:

New Entrepreneurship and SMEs within Urban Cores: Barriers to Entry?
Principal investigators: Arindam Dutta, Department of Architecture

Dynamics of Real Estate Development in China: Theory and Education
PIs: David Geltner, Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Center for Real Estate; Richard de Neufville, School of Engineering

Mining Big Data to Link Affordable Housing Policy with Traffic Congestion Mitigation in Beijing, China
PI: Marta C. Gonzalez, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Development, environmental quality, and the location of polluting industry: A case study of China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region
PI: Valerie Karplus, MIT Sloan School of Management

Developing the Littoral Gradient
PIs: Brent D. Ryan, Department of Urban Studies and Planning; Fadi Masoud, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

The Supply of Housing and Real Estate in China: Land Allocation and Building Densities
PIs: Albert Saiz, Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Center of Real Estate; Thies Lindenthal, Cambridge University; Siqi Zheng, Tsinghua University

A New Model for the Urban-rural Fringe in Jiangsu Province
PI: Adele Naude Santos, Department of Architecture

Real Estate Industry, Financial Markets, and Economic Development: Organizing and utilizing micro data to determine the interaction of the real estate sector with the financial sector, and their impacts on the macro economy of China
PI: Robert M. Townsend, Department of Economics

How does Property Tax Reform Affect Citizen-Government Relations in China?
PIs: Lily L. Tsai, Department of Political Science; Xiaobo Lü, University of Texas, Austin

Affordable Housing and the Resilient Chinese City: Seeking Strategies for Urban Village Redevelopment in a Changing Climate
PI: Lawrence J. Vale, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Implementing TOD in China: A Supply Side Investigation
PI: P. Christopher Zegras, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Mega-Regionalization and Urban Reconfiguration: The Spatial and Wider Economic Impacts of China’s High-Speed Rail System
PI: Jinhua Zhao, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Cities That Talk Back: Using Social Media and Crowdsourcing to Analyze the Chinese City
PI: Sarah Williams, Department of Urban Studies and Planning


Topics: Grants, Real estate, Center for Real Estate, Urban studies and planning, Political science, Economics, Civil and environmental engineering, STL Lab, School of Architecture and Planning, SHASS, Sloan School of Management, Architecture, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), Global, China, Funding, Research, Sustainability, International development

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