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The Wall Street Journal

A new paper co-authored by Prof. James Poterba finds that not all projects to enhance infrastructure are worth investing in, reports David Harrison for The Wall Street Journal. “If we are going to commit a significant amount of resources to new infrastructure projects or to maintain our existing infrastructure, bringing some discipline to the way we decide what we’re spending on is an important element of this,” says Poterba.

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Aaron Pressman spotlights MIT startup Superpedestrian, a scooter rental service. “Superpedestrian’s scooters, packed with sensors, GPS, and a cellular connection, don’t need to be parked in a dock,” writes Pressman. “Instead, the company scatters them around cities in convenient locations.”

The Conversation

Writing for The Conversation, MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub Co-Director Randolph Kirchain and postdoctoral associate Hessam AzariJafari explore how building lighter-colored, more reflective roads could potentially help lower air temperatures and reduce heat waves. “As cities consider ways to combat the effects of climate change, we believe strategically optimizing pavement is a smart option that can make urban cores more livable,” they write.

CBC News

In an interview with of CBC Radio, graduate student Carmelo Ignaccolo discusses the need to better understand how to make cities good places for residents and tourists to coexist. "There are very different ways in which data can really help us plan better cities," says Ignaccolo.

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that people tend to follow a predictable travel pattern that remains consistent in countries around the world. The findings could help urban planners “better understand how populations interact with their surroundings, as well as assist city planners with zoning, infrastructure and other development decisions,” writes Hays.

Motherboard

Researchers from the MIT Senseable City Lab have uncovered a new travel pattern in human mobility that remains consistent across four continents, reports Beck Ferreira for Motherboard. “The notion that distance and frequency of visitation are related is in accordance with intuition,” the researchers explain. “What is surprising is that the relationship between these two quantities can be described by a simple and clean mathematical law.” 

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Nate Berg highlights Ori, an MIT startup that makes motorized furniture that can be used to transform small spaces. 

Boston.com

Lecturer Karilyn Crockett, the first chief of equity for the City of Boston, speaks with Dialynn Dwyer of Boston.com about her efforts aimed at improving equity in Boston. “A lot of what’s been going on has just been working in partnership internally with city departments and agencies, and then looking outside of the building to see — who are these other partners who are really willing to take on this big work of equity?” says Crockett. “It’s been an incredibly busy and productive time because there’s such an incredible appetite, and even hunger, for understanding what equity is … across the city.”

Bloomberg

Writing for Bloomberg, Prof. Carlo Ratti and Saskia Sassen of Columbia University explore how to help rebuild cities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We have the duty to recapitalize our cities — not in financial terms, but in terms of their ‘living’ capital, shoring up their human reserves,” they write.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Berger highlights Superpedestrian, an MIT startup and electric scooter company that secured $60 million in funding. Berger notes that Superpedestrian “spent more than four years designing a vehicle intelligence system that can diagnose and maintain itself.”

Financial Times

Writing for the Financial Times, Prof. Carlo Ratti and Anna König Jerlmyr, the mayor of Stockholm, explore how to reduce demand on urban infrastructure and make cities more efficient. “Covid-19 has proved that changing routines is possible, so we can decide how our cities function,” they write. “Flattening the curve has been a painful response to a crisis but, in cities, it can be used as a strategy to bring greater wellbeing to our everyday lives.” 

Fast Company

Graduate student Kenyatta McLean speaks with Fast Company reporter Nate Berg about BlackSpace, a non-profit she co-founded that aims to bring communities of color into the urban planning decision-making process. “We know that heritage is such an important part of Black neighborhoods and is something that Black neighborhoods continue to produce and conserve themselves, so we did want to amplify that work,” says McLean. 

Economist

The Economist spotlights a recent essay by Prof. David Autor and Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the state of work. “If remote working proves a lasting shift, then the café staff, taxi drivers and cleaners who depend on their custom could find themselves out of work,” writes The Economist.

Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Carlo Ratti explores the importance of public spaces in bringing people together. “Public space is performing its primordial function: revealing fault lines in our society and helping to reconcile them,” writes Ratti. “This is a particularly important activity today, as the growth of digital communication is leading to increased polarization.”

WBUR

Architects from MIT and Generate Technologies have designed Boston’s first cross-laminated timber (CLT) building, a “’revolutionary’ type of timber [that] promises to reduce emissions that cause climate change, create affordable housing and jumpstart a new job-producing, homegrown industry in New England,” reports Bruce Gellerman and Kathleen McNerney for WBUR.