Samuel Tak Lee Champion Professor of Urban and Real Estate Sustainability
School of Architecture and Planning
“The world is 55% urbanized right now, but it will be about 68% urbanized in 2050. That means another 2.5 billion people living in our cities,” says Professor Siqi Zheng. Her research centers around building environmental sustainability into these changing cities while maintaining positive economic and social development.
“I appreciate that the MIT approach is to make a real-world impact,” she says. “We work together to tackle technical policies and societal issues around the world, not just in the lab, but within the cities with local stakeholders.”
One way Zheng makes an impact is by leading the Sustainable Urbanization Lab. It engages with fast-urbanizing cities that serve as “living labs” where MIT researchers can test and deploy their urban-focused innovations, from improved transportation to air quality policy interventions. Similarly, since becoming faculty director of the MIT Center for Real Estate, she envisions a more global, interdisciplinary approach to urban sustainability for the center.
Zheng credits the Samuel Tak Lee Champion Professorship of Urban and Real Estate Sustainability for bringing her to MIT and says the Institute’s interdisciplinary environment is helping her research to bloom in new ways. “At MIT, it’s easy to collaborate with other disciplines—there are no boundaries.”
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This article was originally published in July 2021.