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Design Technology

Our world is data driven. We transfer information and communicate through binary, 1’s & 0’s. Our media, email and navigation relies on the web of data servers and information nodes.

The percentage of consumers using mobile devices is raising exponentially.

Mobile graph

The researchers at MIT Senseable City Lab are utilizing this freely available data to learn more about our the places we live.

The Global Mobility Index shows how people move in 100 cities around the world. This visualization focuses on three aspects of urban mobility for each city: congestion levels calculated using TomTom real-time traffic-monitoring data, commuting time, and the estimated percentage of trips that could be shared if citizens would be willing to wait five minutes to share a trip.


“Not bound by the methodologies of a single field, the Lab is characterized by an omni-disciplinary approach: it speaks the language of designers, planners, engineers, physicists, biologists and social scientists. Senseable is as fluent with industry partners as it is with metropolitan governments, individual citizens and disadvantaged communities. Through design and science, the Lab develops and deploys tools to learn about cities—so that cities can learn about us.”

Their research extends to “measuring” multiple factors that together could identify what defines a sustainable urban place.

Research areas

  • Friendly Cities
  • Urban Mobility
  • Recreation Movement in Urban Areas
  • Shareable Transportation
  • Urban Tree Cover



The real-time city is real! As layers of networks and digital information blanket urban space, new approaches to the study of the built environment are emerging. The way we describe and understand cities is being radically transformed—as are the tools we use to design them. The mission of the Senseable City Laboratory—a research initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—is to anticipate these changes and study them from a critical point of view.