REAL Cities_Bergamo_poster

REAL Cities | Bergamo

Future of Cities is a Research Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design that pursues physical, digital and social innovation through the development of alternative models of urbanization framed within the context of technologically-enhanced cities. Future of Cities specifically embraces the Smart[er] Citizens Program: 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 Program involves interdisciplinary research and a related teaching component, and is conceived of as an extensive collaboration between students and faculty from both universities. Smart[er] Citizens addresses the emerging areas of Smart[er] Learning and Smart[er] Health, exploring the new opportunities offered by innovative technologies for the redefinition of learning environments and the enhancement of healthcare systems. The Research Project investigates – both theoretically and practically – how new models of networks, enhanced immersive and interactive spaces, and novel computational technologies can contribute to address pressing questions of learning and healthcare through the lens of the design of smart architectures, infrastructures and ultimately artifacts, as well as technologically retrofitting or repurposing our built environments. Future of Cities is an integral part of the GSD’s Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab (REAL).



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.