REAL – Genome of the Built Environment: Measuring the Unseen | Harvard GSD | Spring 2015

Responsive Environments: Glitchy Food | Harvard GSD | Spring 2015

Cyborg Coasts: Responsive Hydrologies | Harvard GSD | Spring 2015

REAL Cities_Bergamo_poster

REAL Cities | Bergamo 2.035

The “REAL Cities | Bergamo 2.035” research and teaching initiative is a multi-tier, multi-year academic collaboration between the Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard University, USA, and the University of Bergamo (UNIBG), Italy. The initiative is an integral part of the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab (REAL) at Harvard GSD. REAL employs a design-led approach with a close contribution from social sciences to understand and assess how new technologies and digital augmentation affect different aspects of the city ‒ the infrastructure, the operations and the people ‒ and make it smarter. REAL assumes that the inner intelligence of a city starts from its community and its built environment, and technology, tools and digital infrastructures augment what the specific community has to offer. Putting the human being at the center and forefront, researchers at REAL investigate how new technologies can emphasize the qualities of the city in order to enhance the relationship between the individual and the urban environment, eventually creating new and mindful experiences for citizens within their everyday life.



ALivE is a unique multi-disciplinary collaboration between the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University’s Adaptive Material Technologies platform and several research groups at the Harvard Graduate School of Design: the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab and the Design Robotics Group. The research team jointly develops novel adaptive material systems that respond to environmental conditions and user input. These systems act both passively and actively to spatially, functionally, and experientially augment built environments. ALivE’s simultaneous mission is to develop a new model for design-science collaboration at Harvard, leveraging the opportunities afforded by the tight integration of applied, end-user-aware research methods with technology development.

Responsive Learning Environments

Why do we have to rethink the design of spatial learning environments today? Approaches for teaching and learning have long reflected prevalent cultural, social and economic values and attitudes in society. The supporting technologies – once chalkboards and physical labs – now embrace digital media, cloud computing, and a gamut of digital devices that allow access to digital resources anywhere and anytime. Pedagogies reflect the available tools and methods, but the design of the physical learning environments has been slow to adapt to a digital age and its new forms of learning. Contemporary physical learning environments – classroom, library, labs – should be conceived to support forward looking contemporary pedagogical approaches, thus incorporate the means and methods available at the time. But information technology and its related instructional technologies are often difficult at best to implement in schools that have been built for a purely analog mode of teaching. The design of the high school system provides a unique opportunity to prototype innovative technologically responsive learning environments that can lead as a model of innovation into the future.


Digital Cities

Digital Cities’ research mission is to provide a research platform to envision, investigate and develop solutions for tomorrow’s societies by uniting innovation in technology and design in a strategic context. We are interested in the convergence of several design/ technology-related fields to analyze and address challenges in the near to distant future, from micro to macro-scale. Situated within the Harvard community, DCS’s research builds on bringing together minds of academia, industry and policy to explore, envision and co-create future solutions in harmony with economic, environmental and societal goals.

Research sponsored by Humana.