Beyond Smart Cities: Emerging Design and Technology


Course information

Download the Course Prospectus to find out more.
6 weeks, excluding orientation
7-9 hours per week, entirely online
USD $3,000
Payment Options
The MIT Media Lab
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Cities are home to more than half of the world’s population, with an additional 2.5 billion citizens expected to reside in urban areas by 2050.* As such, there is a growing need for smarter, more sustainable, and more responsive cities of the future.

This six-week online course from the MIT Media Lab will demonstrate how disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) can be leveraged to improve the lives of those who make their homes in the increasingly urban landscape.

Guided by MIT faculty, you’ll learn to engage with the social, cultural, political, and economic forces at work in urban communities, and consider ways to respond to these forces with meaningful solutions to broader challenges.

*McKinsey, 2018

Download course prospectus

What will set you apart

Earn a certificate from the MIT Media Lab in this online short course and be empowered to:

    • Recognize and identify the challenges in contemporary city design
    • Discover how data and disruptive technology can be leveraged to improve urban planning
    • Consider strategies for more effective land use, distributed energy systems, and alternative mobility modes for healthier and more sustainable city systems
    • Discuss the importance of integrated design, public policy, and technology in creating successful smart cities

Course curriculum

Discover how technology can be harnessed for more successful and sustainable cities as you follow your learning path 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

Get recognized for your knowledge when you earn an official certificate from the MIT Media Lab and use it as proof that you've got what it takes to set yourself apart.

Your certificate will be issued in your legal name and couriered to you, at no additional cost, upon successful completion of the program, as per the stipulated requirements. All certificate images are for illustrative purposes only and may be subject to change at the discretion of the University.

Get More Information

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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 a Course Consultant 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 Manager 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 Manager, you can use the Online Campus to get in touch.

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