Boston's Haymarket, 2017. 

Boston's Haymarket, 2017. 


As we think about the future of work, we must also think about the future of the workplace. While factories, offices, and other buildings are often viewed as workplaces, we can also look to public spaces where trucks, carts, and sidewalk squares serve as a workplace. Sidewalks, transit hubs, street corners, and the bellies of flyovers become sites of exchange, value creation, and livelihood generation--what we call productive urban spaces.  Food trucks, carts, pop-up shops and itinerant buying and selling are increasingly viewed as important to urban exchange.

MIT CREATE is a team of researchers and practitioners working to imagine the future of urban exchange by:

  1. Understanding  how these ‘productive urban spaces’ contribute to the overall urban economy.

  2. Developing new the methodologies and related tools that can be used to capture complexities of informal spatial practices tied to urban exchange.

  3. Gathering data to build urban intelligence, and work with communities to develop real, collaborative design and policy solutions.

Our work is rooted in the mens et manus motto at MIT, where students apply what they learn. CREATE equips students, who are practitioners in and researchers of the built environment, with ways to engage and integrate marginalized voices in process of practice. We are a leading hub of research and practice, defining the nature of place in informal urban work and its effect on the purveyors and consumers of informality.

CREATE has a five-year history of conducting embedded work in South Africa with students, informal workers and community advocates working side by side. We are now also beginning work in Boston, and with collaborators in Zimbabwe.