Interdisciplinary undergraduate program combines urban planning and computer science.

The goal of the program is to train undergraduates in the theory and practice of computer science and urban planning and policy-making including ethics and justice, statistics, data science, geospatial analysis, visualization, robotics, and machine learning.

Urban settlements and technology around the world are co-evolving as flows of population, finance, and politics are reshaping the very identity of cities and nations. Rapid and profound changes are driven by pervasive sensing, the growth and availability of continuous data streams, advanced analytics, interactive communications and social networks, and distributed intelligence. At MIT, urban planners and computer scientists are embracing these exciting new developments.

The rise of autonomous vehicles, sensor-enabled self-management of natural resources, cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, biometric identity, the sharing or gig economy, and continuous public engagement opportunities through social networks and data and visualization are a few of the elements that are converging to shape our places of living.

In recognition of this convergence and the rise of a new discipline bringing together the Institute’s existing programs in urban planning and computer science, the MIT faculty approved a new undergraduate degree, the bachelor of science in urban science and planning with computer science (Course 11-6), at its May 16 meeting.

The new major will jointly reside in and be administered by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).

Combining urban planning and public policy, design and visualization, data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, pervasive sensor technology, robotics, and other aspects of both computer science and city planning, the program will reflect how urban scientists are making sense of cities and urban data in ways never before imagined — and using what they learn to reshape the world in real-time.