MIT Media Lab

Beyond Smart Cities:
Emerging Design and Technology

Be at the forefront of sustainable development by learning to leverage cutting-edge disruptive technology for meaningful, high-performance urban solutions.


6 weeks,
excluding orientation


7-9 hours per week,
entirely online

Learning Format

Weekly modules,
flexible learning

Other Detail

Earn an MIT Media
Lab certificate

You'll walk away with:


Knowledge of how innovations in technology, design, planning, and policy can improve urban living and quality of life — at both a local and global level.


An understanding of how the application of disruptive technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), and data analytics, can solve urban challenges.


Insight into the latest trends and research in the built environment, informed by industry experts, giving you a competitive business advantage in the urban solutions environment.

Course curriculum

Module 1
Design and Technology for People-Centric Cities

Identify how global challenges can be best addressed at a community level.

Module 2
The Mobility Revolution and Urban Robotics

Propose a solution to mobility challenges by analyzing data about current mobility patterns, considering emerging transportation modes and their attributes.

Module 3
The Live-Work Transformation: Robotics, Prefabrication, and IoT Technology

Show methods of reimagining living and working spaces to make cities equitable, vibrant, and liveable.

Module 4
A Network of Neighborhoods: AI, Real-Time Simulation, and Emerging Systems

Develop an evidence-based process with metrics related to density, proximity, and diversity to enable more entrepreneurial and high-performance cities.

Module 5
Sustainable Communities: Local Production and Lower Consumption

Evaluate more effective land use, distributed energy systems, and alternative mobility modes as ways to lower a city's environmental footprint.

Module 6
Governance: Token Economies and Algorithmic Zoning for Prosocial Behaviors

Draft an outline of new governance models, behaviors, and emerging technologies to facilitate a healthier, high-functioning community.

Topics covered in this course

Graph Stats Image

Your Faculty Director

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 ten best books in architecture.

Past participant testimonial image

“A fulfilling learning program for designing high-performing and liveable cities beyond tech and infrastructure, requiring forward-thinking governance and creative problem-solving to deliver innovations at a human scale. So much food for thought and intelligent exchange with a global class of like-minded [participants] hungry for broadening their horizons; thoroughly enjoyable learning, hard work though!”
– Dr. Edmund T.Y. Lee, Executive Director, Hong Kong Design Centre

Past participant testimonial

An online education that sets you apart

This program from the MIT Media Lab is delivered in collaboration with online education provider, GetSmarter. Join thousands of students globally who have already benefited from the opportunity to:


Gain verifiable and relevant competencies and earn invaluable recognition from an international selection of universities, entirely online and in your own time


Enjoy a personalized, people-mediated online learning experience created to make you feel supported at every step


Experience a flexible but structured approach to online education as you plan your learning around your life to meet weekly milestones

View course brochure

Want to know more?
Enter your information below to access the course brochure from GetSmarter.

* Required Field

Please enter your first name

Please enter your last name

Please enter a valid email address

Email me about programs offered, in collaboration with multiple Universities, by GetSmarter and other companies in the 2U family of companies. *

Please select an option

I want to learn more about other MIT courses. *

Please select an option

By consenting to receive communications, you agree to the use of your data as described in our privacy policy. You may opt out of receiving communications at any time.