TEDxBoston 2014

Kent Larson, Ryan Chin, Caleb Harper, Ira Winder

Changing Places

Aeroponic urban farms, autonomous personal mobility vehicles, and a 3D data observatory that make cities more livable and planners more engaged.


Speakers' Biographies

Kent Larson

Kent Larson directs the Media Lab’s Changing Places group. Since 1998, he has also directed the MIT House_n research consortium in the School of Architecture and Planning. His current research is focused on four related areas: responsive urban housing, new urban vehicles, ubiquitous technologies, and living lab experiments. Larson practiced architecture for 15 years in New York City with work published in Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Global Architecture, The New York Times, A+U, and Architectural Digest. His book, Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterworks was selected as one of the Ten Best Books in Architecture, 2000 by The New York Times Review of Books. Related work was selected by Time magazine as a “Best Design of the Year” project.

Ryan Chin

Dr. Ryan C.C. Chin is the managing director of the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on developing new urban systems for a post-oil, connected world in the areas of sustainable mobility, resilient energy systems, urban food production, transformable live/work space, and Big Data urban analytics. He earned his Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab in 2012 by creating Mobility-on-Demand (MoD) Systems - a network of one-way shared-use Lightweight Electric Vehicles (LEVs) enabled by electric charging infrastructure and smart fleet management systems. Chins research led to the development of the CityCar - a foldable, shareable, two-passenger LEV designed specifically for MoD Systems. Research conducted on MoD systems and the CityCar led to the MIT Press publication of Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century by Mitchell, Borroni-Bird (GM), and Burns in January of 2010. Time Magazine named the MIT CityCar "Automotive Invention of the Year" in 2007. Esquire Magazine named Dr. Chin as one of the Best and Brightest for innovators under the age of 35 in 2006.

Caleb Harper

Caleb Harper is the founder of the CityFARM research group within the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. His current work at the lab is focused in the areas of building integrated and control environment agriculture, actuated sensing, control automation and data-driven resource and energy optimization in urban farming.
In addition to his role at MIT, Caleb has been a consultant to international development agencies including the DDA, IDB, and USAID on high-density low-income urban housing projects and has worked professionally on international projects in the high tech space, including data centers, healthcare and lab facilities. Caleb holds a Masters from MIT, and Bachelors from Washington University in St. Louis and Baylor University and is deeply committed to the future of urban food and housing research at MIT.

Ira Winder

Ira works with the CityScience Initiative at the MIT Media Lab to manage the design and development of CityScope, a platform for participatory design. CityScope is a tangible, interactive platform that allows expert and non-expert stakeholders to understand and make informed decisions regarding the interaction of architecture, space use, mobility modes, energy and water networks, urban food production, movement of goods, data flows, and other urban systems.