Kent Larson

Director, City Science Initiative (MIT Media Lab)
Principal Research Scientist

Primary DLC

MIT Media Lab

MIT Room: E15-368

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Design and Computation Technology
Responsive Urban Housing
Ubiquitous Technologies
Living Lab Experiments
City Science Initiative

Research Summary

Kent Larson directs the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Laboratory, with research focused on transformable urban housing, mobility-on-demand, responsive technology, and living lab experiments. Larson practiced architecture for 15 years in New York City. His book, Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterworks was selected as one of the Ten Best Books in Architecture, 2000 by the New York Times Review of Books.

CITY SCIENCE : Larson will propose that urban livability and economic vitality can be significantly improved while, at the same time, resource consumption dramatically reduced. He will present a vision for cities created by a network of compact neighborhoods, or “Resilient Urban Cells,” where: Places of work, culture, shopping, and play are within a 20-minute walk of every resident. Co-working facilities, 3rd places, and shared resources support innovation and entrepreneurship. Transformable, hyper-efficient apartments make urban life affordable for young professionals. Shared alternatives to the private automobile are more convenient, affordable, and pleasurable. Traffic congestion and local sources of air pollution are essentially eliminated. Electrical micro-grids, locally produced renewables, and storage create resilient energy networks. Advanced urban agriculture systems efficiently delivery high-quality produce and solve food security problems. Innovative technology and trust networks enable powerful new applications that improve the life of each resident. He will describe how this vision can be achieved through the integrated application of next-generation design strategies, innovative technology, creative engagement with industry, and enlightened public policy.

(summary updated 6/2013)

Recent Work