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Computational Tools for Heat-Resilient Neighborhood Design




4: Architecture

Faculty Supervisor:

Les Norford

Faculty email:


Apply by:

Feb 12


Please email David Birge (dpbirge@mit.edu) to set up

Project Description

Contrary to what we perceive from media coverage, heat-related deaths during heat-waves and other extreme heat events are higher than for any other natural disaster, including hurricanes and flooding. This is true globally and in the United States. One of the most pressing issues that climate-change confronts humanity with, therefore, is how to improve adaptation to, coping during, and recovery from heat-waves. Professors Les Norford and Christoph Reinhart, along with LCAU Research Scientist David Birge, are leading a project looking at how to make urban neighborhoods more heat-resilient. To further develop, test, and integrate heat-resilient strategies (many developed by Norford and Reinhart at MIT) our research team will be leveraging and extending the capabilities of the Urban Modelling Platform (Umi). Umi has been in continuous development and wide-spread use by Reinhart in his Sustainable Design Lab over the last decade. We are looking for one or two UROP’s with experience using Umi and/or DIVA to help our team develop and test new core functionality. Students currently enrolled in Professor Reinharts 4.432 / 4.433 Modeling Urban Energy Flows for Sustainable Cities and Neighborhoods are welcome to apply as well. UROP’s will dive into the computational workflow behind Umi, working closely with our team to create test suites, building libraries, operational schedules, and performing results analysis. Depending on skill level, UROPs may also help create hooks between Umi and EnergyPlus or work on user interface development for Rhino. Strong work during the Spring can lead to Summer and Fall 2020 UROP positions.


Prior experience with Umi and/or DIVA, or current enrollment in 4.432/4.433 Python C# (beneficial but not necessary)