Beyond Smart Cities: Emerging Design and Technology

Course starts 28 October 2020

Course information

Registration Closes:
20 October 2020
Course Starts:
28 October 2020
6 weeks, excluding orientation
7–9 hours per week, self-paced learning online
USD $2,900
Payment Options
The MIT Media Lab


With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas, there’s a growing interest for smarter, safer, and more sustainable cities that are responsive to their citizens.

While smart city solutions typically focus on digital optimizations to existing urban infrastructure, this online program goes beyond optimizations: It explores ways in which disruptive technology can dramatically improve planning, design, and management of contemporary cities for a more resilient future.

You’ll discover how technologies like data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), new urban systems, real-time simulations, and predictive urban design can be leveraged to realize more entrepreneurial, high-performance, and liveable urban communities, guided by MIT faculty.

Download course prospectus

What will set you apart

On completion of this course, you’ll walk away with:

  • The ability to leverage technological innovation to improve design, planning, and policy of urban living
  • Strategies for more effective land use, distributed energy systems, and alternative mobility
  • The skills to recognize and identify the challenges in contemporary city design, with solutions for healthier and more sustainable city systems

Is this course for you?

This program is designed for professionals interested in the design and planning of cities, seeking ways to transform urban areas for a more sustainable and vibrant future. With a focus on technology and data, the course is particularly relevant to those who are focused on designing, investing in, and delivering smart city solutions.

Course curriculum

Discover how disruptive technology can bring dramatic improvements to urban living and sustainability, as you work through the weekly modules of this online program.

  • Orientation Module Welcome to your Online Campus
  • Module 1 Design and technology for people-centric cities
  • Module 2 The mobility revolution and urban robotics
  • Module 3 The live-work transformation: robotics, prefabrication, and IoT technology
  • Module 4 A network of neighborhoods: AI, real-time simulation, and emerging systems
  • Module 5 Sustainable communities: local production and lower consumption
  • Module 6 Governance: token economies and algorithmic zoning for prosocial behaviors

Discover the urban potential of disruptive technology

This MIT online program is delivered in collaboration with GetSmarter. Learn from industry thought leaders as you explore the potential of emerging technologies to transform the urban environment in this online short course from the MIT Media Lab.

Your Faculty Director

The design of this online program is guided by MIT faculty and industry experts who will share their experience and in-depth subject knowledge with you throughout the course.

Kent Larson


Director, City Science Group, MIT Media Lab.

Kent Larson directs the City Science (formerly Changing Places) research group at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on developing urban interventions that enable more entrepreneurial, liveable, high-performance districts in cities. To that end, his projects include advanced simulation and augmented reality for urban design, transformable micro-housing for millennials, mobility-on-demand systems that create alternatives to private automobiles, and Urban Living Lab deployments in Hamburg, Andorra, Taipei, and Boston.

Larson and researchers from his group received the “10-Year Impact Award” from UbiComp 2014. This is a “test of time” award for work that, with the benefit of hindsight, has had the greatest impact over the previous decade.

Larson practiced architecture for 15 years in New York City, with design work published in Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Global Architecture, The New York Times, A+U, and Architectural Digest. The New York Times Review of Books selected his book, Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterworks (2000) as one of that year’s 10 best books in architecture.

Earn a certificate from the MIT Media Lab

Learn to harness disruptive technology for sustainable, smart city solutions and earn a certificate from the MIT Media Lab.

Your certificate will be issued in your legal name and sent to you upon successful completion of the program, as per the stipulated requirements.


When do I start?

Our next available short course starts 28 October 2020.

Get More Information

Enter your information below to view the course prospectus from GetSmarter.

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Still have a question? These may help


    You can either pay your tuition fees in full before the course starts, or you may opt for a two-part payment plan for courses nine weeks and shorter. For courses ten weeks or longer, there is a three-part payment plan available. To find out more on payment options please visit our Payment and Financing page.

    If you want to find out more about any of these options or you want to know which you qualify for please get in contact with an Enrolment Advisor here.


    GetSmarter's learning model is designed to help you, as a working professional, improve your skills without compromising on work and family responsibilities. The course work is broken up into weekly, manageable bite-sized modules, with incremental deadlines, designed to help you pace yourself over the duration of the course and allow you the legroom to work when it suits you best.

    At the beginning of each week you'll be presented with all the lectures, notes and assignments necessary for completion. You also have access to your Success Advisor who will help you set goals and track key milestones, manage your time, and field any administrative requests you might have.


    By improving your skills and industry knowledge, you'll be having an influence on the success of your organisation.

    Why wouldn't you ask your boss to help you fund your studies if it's going to have an impact on the way you do business?

    37% of our past students receive financial assistance from their employers. You can ask for help, too. Here is a guide to show you how to receive financial assistance from your employer.


    The Online Campus will be your virtual classroom for the duration of your course. Through its easy-to-use interface you'll have access to a diverse variety of course content formats, including: interactive video lectures, module notes, practice quizzes, Prezis, assignment briefs, and additional web resources.

    On the Online Campus, you'll also be able to ask questions and interact with your fellow students and Head Tutor through the Online Campus discussion forums. If you're experiencing tech issues or need advice from your personal Success Advisor, you can use the Online Campus to get in touch.