Kent Larson

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Kent Larson is Director of the City Science research group[1] at the MIT Media Lab.[2][3] Before joining MIT full-time in 2000, he practiced architecture for 15 years in New York City with work published in Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Global Architecture, the New York Times, A+U, and Architectural Digest. He and the researchers from his MIT lab have twice received the “10-Year Impact Award” from Ubicomp: a “test of time” award for work that, with the benefit of that hindsight, has had the greatest impact. 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.[4] Larson's 2012 TED talk, "Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city," summarized his vision for cities in the future.

Current Research at MIT[edit]

Larson's recent MIT research has focused on four areas:

Responsive Housing: The Changing Places project is focused on developing strategies to create high-performance, technology-enabled personalized, places of living that respond to a shortage of affordable urban housing and new ways of living and working. In this approach, buildings are disentangled into three independently configured layers: high performance chassis (building structure and utilities), integrated infill that makes use of agile technology and architectural robotics, and responsive façade modules. These concepts are being deployed in the CityHome: a compact, transformable apartment system for urban dwellers that functions as if a much larger space. Larson is a founder of ORI Living, an MIT spinoff company to commercialize architectural robotics.

Urban Modeling and Prediction: The CityScope project combines physical 3D models, augmented reality, and real-time prediction to support experts and non-experts in a new decision-making process to make better cities. CityScope platforms have been deployed in Cambridge, Hamburg, Andorra, Helsinki, Shanghai, and other cities around the world. The Finding Places project made use of a CityScope to bring together the residents of Hamburg, Germany to identify optimal locations to provide housing for a growing number of refugees from the war in Syria. It combined optically tagged color-coded LEGO bricks, touch feed-back and geographical simulation algorithms to create a hands-on experience that allowed users to understand current land features and collectively propose housing sites by placing tangible LEGO bricks at different sites on the physical model. Through this immersive process, project partners from MIT City Science, the Hamburg Mayor’s Office, and HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU) brought the residents’ personal experiences and local knowledge into the government’s decision-making process.

Urban Mobility-on-Demand: Upon the 2010 death of William J. Mitchell, former Dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, Larson's group continued work on the MIT CityCar and developed concepts for shared-use light electric vehicles and intelligent fleet management to provide high-levels of service through sensor networks, dynamic incentives, and intelligent charging. Kent Larson's City Science research group is currently developing a shared-use, ultra-lightweight, autonomous, three-wheel electric vehicle, called the Persuasive Electric Vehicle or PEV, to move both people and goods along bike lanes in central cities.

Living Labs: Larson and MIT researchers have developed computational tools to understand human behavior in natural environments, including the necessary sensing, interfaces, data collection methods, and visualization capabilities. They have developed prototypical applications that respond to human behavior, with an emphasis on proactive health, energy conservation, and the support of new ways of living and working. This work includes the exploration of data collection and analysis tools to understand the fine-grained attributes of a healthy, high-functioning community or city, and strategies to use this information to inform the design of new communities.

Larson lives in Jamaica Plain, Boston, with his wife, Maria Miller Larson.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "City Science". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  2. ^ "PLAN 85: ARTICLE. The City Science Initiative At The Media Lab". MIT School of Architecture + Planning. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  3. ^ MIT Media Lab Web Site
  4. ^ Reviews of the Ten Best Books in Architecture, 2000 by the New York Times Review of Books

External links[edit]