11.501 Introduction to Technology and Cities

Fall 2002

Boston's downtown, as seen from above.
An aerial view of downtown Boston. (Courtesy of MassGIS.)

Course Highlights

The course features a readings section that offers an incredible depth of material to complement the lectures presented in this class, on a topic that will become more important and more hotly debated as information technology and data collection grow even more prevalent.

Course Description

This seminar is an introduction to the usage and impacts of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on urban planning, the urban environment and communities. Students will explore how social relationships, our sense of community, the urban infrastructure, and planning practice have been affected by technological change. Literature reviews, guest speakers, and web surfing will provide examples and issues that are debated in class and homework exercises. We will examine metropolitan information infrastructures, urban modeling and visualization, e-government, collaborative planning, and cyber communities.

Students will attend a regular Tuesday seminar and occasional seminars of invited speakers during lunchtime on Fridays or Mondays.

During the past two decades, ICTs have become so pervasive and disruptive that their impact on urban planning and social relationships has begun to reach far beyond their immediate use as efficient bookkeeping and automation tools. This seminar will examine ICT impacts on our sense of community, urban planning practice, the meaning of 'place', and the nature of metropolitan governance. In each of the four areas, we will utilize readings, class discussion, guest lectures, and homework exercises to identify and critique key trends, relevant theories, and promising directions for research and professional practice.

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Prof. Joseph Ferreira, Jr.

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
2 hours / session