Course is closed
Lead Instructor(s)
Live Virtual
Course Length
3 Days
Course Fee
1.8 CEUs
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Course is closed
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Any proposal to improve urban life requires a multi-disciplinary strategy that incorporates planning, architecture, computer science, engineering, and social science. In this program, you’ll work closely with industry and government professionals across a range of disciplines to explore innovative urban design solutions—and enhance your ability to integrate the latest sensor and actuator architecture and other cutting-edge technologies into the built environment. 

Course Overview

This course may be taken individually or as part of the Professional Certificate Program in Innovation & Technology.

Designing Tomorrow's Cities is a three-day workshop that will teach participants to design and synthesize digital-based solutions and new experiences for future cities and human environments. The workshop will cover topics such as the utilization of IoT and A.I. in the development of new types of urban infrastructure systems, experiences, and services. Participants will also be exposed to a variety of big data projects and visualizations as showcases of how to decode hidden large scale patterns in cities.

Over three intensive days, participants will perform guided design thinking of new types of digitally based urban services and platforms, while learning about cutting-edge research and technology being developed at the Senseable City Lab –one of the world’s leading research centers on the topic of smart cities– related to the understanding and designing of the cities of tomorrow. They will also interact with researchers from the Senseable City Lab who are performing such research, and will become familiar with the lab’s work in the fields of transportation, robotics, IoT, and artificial intelligence.

The Digital Revolution is changing the way we live today as radically as the Industrial Revolution did almost two centuries ago. As urbanization accelerates across the world, digital media and information technologies integrated with the built environment hold huge potential for understanding, designing, and managing future cities. As cities try to be more livable in the future, a multi-disciplinary approach from diverse fields such as city planning, architecture, engineering, computer science, and social science is necessary to foster urban innovation.

The Senseable City Lab at MIT has created a workshop that will challenge students from diverse backgrounds with anticipating the needs and opportunities of cities as they incorporate digital technologies into the fabric of everyday lives. Both as research insights as well as new design solutions, the outcome of the workshop will be presented as a series of design scenarios centered on the ideation of new experiences and services for the future citizens, with the goal of delivering a set of ideas that hold the potential for further prototyping and the goal of having an impact beyond the academic world.

We will explore these design scenarios through a series of lectures and guided design exercises meant to give participants a primer on design thinking that blends digital technologies, big data and other digital technologies into cohesive projects ready to be further developed as actionable prototypes.

Participant Takeaways

Participants will learn principles of design thinking applicable to prototyping of new experiences using digital technologies at both human and urban scale. They will also learn primers in related topics including:

  • How to design integrations of sensor and actuators architectures with fundamentals of IoT & AI for the development of data driven applications.
  • How big data analytics can be of use to decode the behavior of large scale systems and urban dynamics.
  • Obtain a primer on the principles of big data visualizations and communication for both scientific and general consumption purposes.

Who Should Attend

This course is aimed at professionals from industry and government that work in projects related to infrastructure, architecture spatial design, operations, environmental, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Attendees include:

  • Executive level managers, project managers, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, and product developers.
  • Government officials, NGO members, and policy makers
  • Individuals from industries such as infrastructure, transportation, real estate, robotics, and urban services.
  • Professionals from areas such as product management, engineering, research, marketing, operations, finance, and strategy, among others.


Laptops or tablets with Windows for which you have administrator privileges are required for this course.

Program Outline

Class runs 9:30 am - 4:30 pm on Monday, and 9:00 am - 4:30 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Day 1 

9:30-10:30       Introduction to Senseable Cities
10:45-12:00     The future of transportation
1:00-1:30         Teams Formation & Challenge Introduction
1:30-2:30         Data Driven Cities and Future Infrastructures
2:45-4:00         Urban Solutions Ideation Session
4:00-4:30         Day 1 Recap

Day 2 

9:00-10:00       Sensing and Actuating Primer
10:00-11:00     Ideation Session 2
11:15-12:30     Designing Human Interactions / Paper Prototyping
1:30-2:30        Datascapes and Data Viz
2:45-4:00        Guided Teamwork
4:00-4:30        Day 2 Recap

Day 3 

9:00-10:00       Scaling Up: Thinking about Urban Interactions
10:00-11:00     Ideation Session 3
11:15-12:30     Technology Synthesis and Design
1:30 - 2:30      Guided Teamwork
2:45-4:00        Team Pitches
4:00-4:30        Course Wrap & Final Thoughts