4.557J / MAS.552J
City Science — CityScope Kendall: Modeling a World-class Innovation Community

Permission of instructor

With Ariel Noyman, Carson Smuts, Luis Alonso, and Arnaud Grignard

Kendall Square is considered by many to be an ideal innovation district — but it is dysfunctional as a community due to an extreme lack of amenities, housing, cultural venues, and after-work activity.

MIT’s selection as the developer for the 14-acre Volpe Center creates one last opportunity to transform the district into a vibrant and creative center for entrepreneurship.  Students will explore an evidence-based, data-driven process that makes use of the CityScope augmented reality platform, focused on the following questions:

  • Can the Volpe site accommodate the interventions required to enable a complete, high-functioning Kendal Square community?
  • Can mathematical models predict the innovation potential of the district? Safety and security? Health and wellness? Energy consumption?
  • Can we eliminate commuting, by allowing everyone who works in the district to live within a ten-minute walk?
  • Can new strategies for hyper-efficient, transformable, housing and zoning incentives provide affordable places of living for those not served by the market (graduate students, young entrepreneurs, workforce, families, retirees)?
  • Can private vehicles be replaced by autonomous shuttles and shared-use personal electric vehicles?
  • Can algorithmic zoning replace static land use regulations to enable the district to evolve as needed over time?Can evidence-based, data-driven tools, such as CityScope, empower the community to iteratively explore alternative visions for the future of Kendall Square?

Students with a background in public policy, computation, data analysis, urban design, and architecture are welcome.