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Failing to Make Urban New England: Spatial Histories of Planning Failure in Boston, Providence, and Portland




11: Urban Studies and Planning

Faculty Supervisor:

Eric Robsky Huntley

Faculty email:


Apply by:

May 29, 2020


Eric Robsky Huntley, ehuntley@mit.edu, 607-339-6843

Project Description

The project is a multi-sited digital archival examination of unrealized urban plans in New England. Using methods drawn from GIScience and the Digital Humanities, we will develop rich spatial database reconstructions of plans that failed to materialize in Boston, Providence, and Rhode Island. We will be modeling urban plans using historic maps and documentary evidence; these models will serve to suggest novel questions about specific urban-political histories that saw plans resisted and diverted.


Demonstrated interest in urban history and/or urban data science. Experience with GIS, particularly QGIS, preferred. Experience with SQL and database design is not mandatory, but is desirable.