The MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the Changing Places group at the MIT Media Lab, and the Barr Foundation, are working together to test how bus-rapid transit systems could affect the city. Their work includes three components: a Lego model of Dudley Square, another 3-D model (also made of Legos) of a Boston street, and a touchscreen interface to illustrate the potential effects of different plans on a regional scale—such as how changes to public transit might affect people’s access to jobs.
“The aim is to make the urban planning process more transparent by getting everyone involved—not just experts like [professor of transportation and urban planning at MIT Chris] Zegras. ‘Part of our idea with introducing these types of tools is to break away from the technocratic model of planning,’ he says. ‘So we’ve try to make a very initial foray into opening up those processes a bit more.’”
Not only has the team made the platform familiar and accessible, they have also opened their lab to the public, encouraging residents and local policymakers alike to participate in the project.
Read more about the initiative at CityLab.