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Urban studies and planning

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The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Carlo Ratti discusses his research exploring the impact of remote work on social relationships. “There does not need to be a complete return to the office; remote work has undeniable benefits, not least flexibility,” writes Ratti. “However, businesses and organizations must develop a new work regime, a methodology that emphasizes the best of what physical space can do for us.”

Scientific American

A new study co-authored by MIT researchers demonstrates that forming weak ties on LinkedIn can help people find new jobs, reports Vivianne Callier for Scientific American.  “One thing the study highlights is the degree to which algorithms are guiding fundamental, baseline, important outcomes, like employment and unemployment,” says Prof. Sinan Aral.

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Sam Becker writes that a study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that weaker social connections on LinkedIn have a greater impact on job mobility than stronger relationships. The findings demonstrate that “the best thing many job seekers can do, as counterintuitive as it sounds, is to mine their lesser-known or secondary connections for opportunities,” writes Becker.

The Guardian

Research by Prof. Sinan Aral and his colleagues has found that having “moderately weak ties” can positively facilitate job shifts, reports Nicola Davis for The Guardian. Aral said that as well as examining the importance of weak ties, the study highlighted the degree to which social media algorithms “are turning the knobs on our economies and fundamental indicators like employment." 

Bloomberg

Writing for Bloomberg News, Prof. Carlo Ratti and Robert Muggah of the Igarapé Institute make the case that cities should use venture capital strategies to manage risk and spur innovation. “To do so, local governments need to change their approach to procurement,” they write. “If administrators pay more close attention to what venture capital can teach them, then the city — one of the first, greatest ventures in human history — will be able to continue to invest in a shared, prosperous tomorrow.”

Reuters

A new study by Prof. Albert Saiz has found that Mexican housing must become denser and better planned in order to provide adequate living options to lower-income parts of the population, reports Kylie Madry for Reuters. “According to Saiz, the prevalence of self-built, one-family homes is a bigger problem than growing numbers of ‘digital nomads’ – remote workers living in Mexico but earning disproportionately large salaries from abroad – which have been the focus of criticism since the coronavirus pandemic took many jobs online,” writes Madry.

Forbes

Joseph Coughlin, Director of the MIT AgeLab, writes for Forbes about Serena William’s recent retirement announcement and the evolving concept of retirement. “Tennis star Serena Williams announced her ‘retirement’ from tennis this week while challenging the very idea of retirement,” writes Coughlin. “Williams is not alone. Many people, far older than her 41 years, are declaring retirement a dated term best left to past generations and another era.”

WBUR

The Emerald Tutu, a climate resiliency project in Boston led by Gabriel Cira ’08, is developing a system of floating wetlands designed to reduce coastal flooding by knocking down waves, reports Hannah Chanatry for WBUR. The Emerald Tutu was the winning project at the 2018 MIT Climate Changed Ideas competition. “Fundamentally, it’s like a giant sponge that fits around urban coastlines like we have here in Boston,” said Cira. “It buffers those coastlines from the intense effects of coastal storms.”

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times reporter Sammy Roth spotlights Prof. Lawrence Susskind’s study that finds common sources of opposition to delayed or blocked renewable energy projects include concerns over land use and environmental impact. Roth writes that Susskind’s “research has convinced him that speeding up the clean energy transition will be possible only if developers take the time to make a good-faith effort to gather input from communities before dumping solar and wind farms on them.”

The Economist

The Economist spotlights how Prof. Carlo Ratti and researchers from the MIT Senseable City Lab are working on revitalizing neglected spaces in Kosovo’s capital. “We wanted to start something that could continue in the long term: small interventions that, little by little, could become part of the city,” says Ratti.

Experience Magazine

Ezra Haber Glenn, a lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning, writes for Experience Magazine about how companies and technologists are looking to make electric vehicle charging stations destinations themselves. “Still in the conceptual stages, the program envisions replacing gas stations with a variety of ‘new-age community centers,’” writes Glenn.

Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Joseph Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab, emphasizes the importance of friendships in retirement. “Comprehensive longevity planning is about living well in later life, not just financial planning,” writes Coughlin. “Without rich social connections, health, even coupled with ample wealth, might still result in unhappiness in older age. It appears that men, in particular, must work harder than most women to invest and build their social portfolio.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Nate Berg spotlights the work of Liminal, a non-profit research group developed by students from MIT and Harvard that is focused on sustainable development in small towns. “Liminal brought 18 architecture and urbanism students from MIT to Abruzzo for a three-week immersion in the region,” writes Berg, “to learn about local priorities and develop design visions for the future of its small towns.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. David Hsu weighs in on how the current competitive utility prices may not survive the anticipated shocks to the energy market, reports Dharna Noor for The Boston Globe. Hsu explains that “aggregation is a useful tool to clean the grid and boost local control of energy – and customers can always opt out to take advantage of lower rates,” writes Noor.

The Boston Globe

Prof. Karilyn Crockett speaks with Boston Globe reporter Miles Howard about how transportation planning in the Greater Boston area needs to be centered around improving connectivity. “As Boston’s population grows, our public transportation infrastructure continues to crumble, and our transit planning can’t just be about new cars on one line and new tracks on another,” says Crockett. “It has to be a discussion about the system and the economic impacts of that system on Black and brown communities that are struggling to get to doctors’ appointments, to schools, to jobs that don’t allow working from home.”