The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded in 1861, is one of the world’s leading universities centered on efforts to solve complex socio-technical problems. MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) brings together the oldest Department of Architecture in the United States (founded in 1865), the country’s largest and oldest continuously operating Department of City Planning (founded in 1933) and the first Center for Real Estate to be located in a School of Architecture and Planning (founded in 1985).
For more than 50 years, the School has maintained a close relationship with India, initially through the enrollment of many postgraduate students (such as Charles Correa) and a range of city design consultancy assignments carried out by the MIT-staffed firm of Adams, Howard and Greeley. Starting in the late 1960s, the relationship broadened to include many mid-career visiting fellows from India, based at the SPURS program (Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies of Developing Areas).
More recently, the School has had a steady stream of doctoral students from India, as well as several India-born faculty members and others who have centered their research on India on issues ranging from studies of the informal economy to questions of water management to an international competition for research papers on innovative institutional responses to India’s urban challenges.
In terms of human settlements curriculum development, the MIT SA+P has featured several innovative India-based classes, including urban design studios in Erode and Mumbai, two “practicum” courses examining issues of water and sanitation issues, together with human rights concerns, in Gujarat.