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A chat with Eran Ben-Joseph, the new head of MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Eran Ben-Joseph's most recent book, "ReThinking a Lot," explores the history and potential future of the parking lot.
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Eran Ben-Joseph's most recent book, "ReThinking a Lot," explores the history and potential future of the parking lot.
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Photo: Dominick Reuter

In January, Eran Ben-Joseph took over as the head of MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning, succeeding Amy Glasmeier, who is stepping down after four years in the post to focus on teaching and research.

A professor of landscape architecture and planning, and most recently head of the Joint Program in City Design and Development in the School of Architecture + Planning, Ben-Joseph brings extensive experience as a city planner, urban designer and landscape architect in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the United States. He has led multi-disciplinary projects in Singapore, Barcelona, Santiago, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

He is the author of numerous articles, monographs and book chapters and has authored or co-authored five books including "Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities," "The Code of the City," "RENEW Town" and "Regulating Place." His most recent book, "ReThinking a Lot," exploring the history and potential future of the parking lot, was enthusiastically received by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Slate, NPR and the BBC, among many others.

He is the recipient of the Wade Award for his work on Representation of Places — a collaborative project with the Media Lab — and the Milka Bliznakov Prize for his historical work on Pioneering Women of Landscape Architecture. His current research focuses on the role of the built environment in the travel behavior of older adults, as well as its role in causing and/or exacerbating obesity, and the development of a model for community and housing design that strives for zero net energy, carbon neutrality and reduced ecological impacts.

Read what he has to say about his work and his new challenges as department head.

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