Focus projects bring together multiple LDT research units, stakeholders, and industry advisors to collaborate in topical and thematic areas. These areas and LDT’s associated research are, by their nature, interdisciplinary and far-reaching in their current and potential impact on human lives, the environment, and industry. Such work is ever more important as technology and current events accelerate profound changes throughout society, affecting everything we do—how we live, work, produce, build, and think.

The Future of Air Travel

The Future of Air Travel is a multiyear, holistic inquiry into the complex nature of air travel, and is a collaboration between researchers from the Harvard GSD’s Geometry Lab and Response Environments and Artifacts Group (REAL). The project examines and provides insight into the complex interplay of human experience, public and private systems, technological innovation, and disruptive shock events that sometimes define the industry. By understanding these factors and their interplay, we can design for improved passenger experiences and resiliency in changing times. The project evolved throughout 2020 in response to industry disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and has produced two research books: ON FLYING: A Toolkit and the Atlas of Urban Air Mobility.

The Future of Living

In a context of growing economic inequalities, rising costs of living, and rapidly emerging technologies within practices of the built environment, the Future of Living is a proposed body of research that looks holistically at our value systems and capacities as designers and planners to create processes and technologies that are culturally- and socially-informed. This
fundamentally interdisciplinary research aims to work from first principals of our disciplines and design practice to grow technologies and typologies that imagine new ways of living within our shared urban places. Future of Living research aims to balance the creation of geospatial processes and emerging methods for generating urban scale artificial intelligence with a critical approach to design at the building scale.

Adaptive Living Environments (ALivE)

All designs and embodiments of the built environment ultimately involve materials. Material design, development, production, selection, and evaluation are instrumental for all physical settings, from human-centered workplaces and places of healing to places of learning and living. Materials have a major impact on how we experience an environment, and on its health, longevity, aesthetics, performance, and the CO2 emissions throughout its life cycle. The goal of ALivE is to develop and prototype entirely new material solutions for the continuum of material experiences in the built environment, from consumer products and furniture to buildings and infrastructure.