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School of Architecture + Planning

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Wired

Graduate student Anna Waldman-Brown writes for Wired about the future of automation technology and how it can impact labor dynamics in the future. “While some scholars believe that our fates are predetermined by the technologies themselves, emerging evidence indicates that we may have considerable influence over how such machines are employed within our factories and offices – if we can only figure out how to wield this power,” writes Waldman-Brown.

Times Higher Ed

A new study by MIT researchers examines how different spaces such as cafeterias can help foster collaboration on academic campuses, reports Paul Basken for Times Higher Ed. “The method affirms expectations that colleagues working physically nearer to each other are more likely to find each other, and that the odds of connection are higher between locations with indoor pathways,” writes Basken.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter David Abel spotlights the Mice Against Ticks project, which is aimed at preventing tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease through immunizing mice.  “With so many people suffering from Lyme every single day, which is an awful disease, we need a solution urgently,” explains graduate student and Mice Against Ticks research director Joanna Buchthal. “This offers a real, if revolutionary, way to tackle the problem.”

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News reporter Janet Wu speaks with President L. Rafael Reif and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry during the Institute’s Climate Grand Challenges showcase event. “If you can capture the emissions -- literally, genuinely -- then you’re reducing the problem,” said Kerry of the importance of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.

KUER

Prof. Ekene Ijeoma speaks with KUER’s Ivana Martinez about his group’s art project, “A Counting,” which spotlights people counting to 100 in their native languages. “I think [this is] speaking to ideas of what it means to live in this diverse society,” said Ijeoma. “And whether or not we're able to live up to the dream of this society, which is — we're a multicultural place. Can we actually be that?”

Inverse

Researchers from MIT have developed a new fabric that can hear and interpret what’s happening on and inside our bodies, reports Elana Spivack for Inverse. Beyond applications for physical health the researchers envision that the fabric could eventually be integrated with “spacecraft skin to listen to [accumulating] space dust, or embedded into buildings to detect cracks or strains,” explains Wei Yan, who helped develop the fabric as an MIT postdoc. “It can even be woven into a smart net to monitor fish in the ocean. It can also facilitate the communications between people who are hard of [hearing].”

Popular Science

Using machine learning techniques, MIT researchers analyzed social media sentiment around the world during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and found that the “pandemic precipitated a dramatic drop in happiness,” reports Charlotte Hu for Popular Science. “We wanted to do this global study to compare different countries because they were hit by the pandemic at different times,” explains Prof. Siqi Zheng, “and they have different cultures, different political systems, and different healthcare systems.”

TechCrunch

Ella Peinovich ’12 co-founded Powered by People, a wholesale e-commerce platform based in Kenya that connects small brands to global markets, reports Annie Njanja for TechCrunch. “We are providing these businesses with new visibility into the specialty retail market in North America,” says Peinovich.

The Hill

Writing for The Hill, Prof. Jinhua Zhao explores how many people, when provided the opportunity to work remotely, work from a location other than their home. “If employers provide the necessary flexibility to their staff, and policymakers engage in smart land use and transportation planning for third-place trips,” writes Zhao, “the result could be a rare win-win-win for workers, businesses, and the public good.”

WHDH 7

Prof. Yoel Fink speaks with WHDH about his team’s work developing an acoustic fabric that can listen to and record sound, a development inspired by the human ear. "The fabric can be inserted into clothes to monitor heart rate and respiration. It can even help with monitoring unborn babies during pregnancy."

Fortune

Fortune reporter Tristan Bove spotlights a study led by economists from MIT, Stanford, the University of Chicago and Mexico’s ITAM on how workers are spending their time while working from home. “Pandemic habits give Americans around 70 minutes of extra free time a day,” writes Bove. “The lion’s share of this, around 60 minutes, comes from getting rid of commuting, but workers have also spent around nine minutes less on average doing daily activities such as grooming or picking out fresh clothes.”

TechCrunch

A new study by MIT researchers finds people are more likely to interact with a smart device if it demonstrates more humanlike attributes, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. The researchers found “users are more likely to engage with both the device — and each other — more when it exhibits some form of social cues,” writes Heater. “That can mean something as simple as the face/screen of the device rotating to meet the speaker’s gaze.”

The Boston Globe

The food truck Cassandria Campbell MS ‘11 and Jackson Renshaw started in an effort to bring locally sourced and healthier food options to the Boston area is now being turned into a restaurant, reports Devra First for The Boston Globe. “These are beautiful neighborhoods and people deserve to be able to walk down the street and get something good to eat,” says Campbell. “If I have kids, I want them to be able to do the same.”

Bloomberg

Prof. Carlo Ratti has proposed a 51-story skyscraper for China’s technology hub of Shenzhen that would produce crops to feed populations of up to 40,000 per year, reports Bloomberg News. “Ratti envisions his farmscraper as a self-contained food supply chain, where the crops can be cultivated, sold and eaten all within the same building.”

The Hill

Writing for The Hill, Prof. Jinhua Zhao, Prof. Franz-Josef Ulm, Research Scientist Anson Stewart and Principal Research Scientist Randolph Kirchain explore how to maximize the impact and effectiveness of the infrastructure spending bill. “Here’s what we should do," they write. "Modernize planning tools to consider systems holistically, get out of technology ruts, and, most fundamentally, measure performance.”