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Making the Clean Energy City in China, March 21, 2012

March 21, 12.30-2 PM, Room 1-190 | Speakers: Dennis Frenchman + Christopher Zegras
Making the Clean Energy City in China | Discussant: Ralph Gakenheimer

Dennis Frenchman is the Leventhal Professor of Urban Design and Planning at MIT, where he co-directs the Center for Advanced Urbanism. He is also on the faculty of the Center for Real Estate.  He has taught and practiced extensively in Asia, Europe, and South America and served as External Advisor on urban livability to the President of the World Bank.  He is also a registered architect, and founding principal of ICON architecture in Boston an international architecture and urban design firm. Prof. Frenchman’s practice and research focuses on the transformation of cities. He is an expert on the application of digital technology to city design and has designed large-scale media oriented cities and industrial clusters including Seoul Digital Media City in Korea, the Digital Mile in Zaragoza, Spain, Media City: UK in Salford, England, Twofour54 in Abu Dhabi, and Ciudad Creativa Digital, Guadalajara, Mexico.  He has a particular interest in the redevelopment of industrial sites and has prepared plans for the renewal of textile mill towns, canals, rail corridors, steels mills, coal and oil fields, shipyards and ports, including many of international cultural significance.  Currently he is co-directing an MIT research effort to develop new models for clean energy urbanization in China, sponsored by the Energy Foundation.

Christopher Zegras’ teaching and research interests include the inter-relations between transportation and the built and natural environments, transportation system finance and policy, and integrated system modeling. He has co-taught urban design and planning studios and Practica in Beijing, Santiago de Chile, Mexico City, and Cartagena, Colombia. Current research projects include: Future Urban Mobility; Making the “Clean Energy City” in China; Travel Behavior of the Baby Boomers; and, Implementing Bus Rapid Transit: The Institutional Dimensions. He has consulted widely, including for the International Energy Agency, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Canadian, German, US, and Peruvian Governments, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the United Nations Center for Regional Development.  He previously worked for the International Institute for Energy Conservation in Washington, DC and Santiago de Chile and for MIT’s Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. He currently serves as the MIT Lead for the MIT-Portugal Program Transportation Systems Focus Area, on the Faculty Advisory Council of the Transportation @MIT Initiative, and on the Transportation in Developing Countries Committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council.


The Chinese urban landscape is being dramatically transformed through rapid urbanization, changing standards of living, and a massive shift to private motorized transportation.  These changes are inducing cities to consume ever more energy in the face of decreasing supplies.  The speakers present advances from an ongoing research project, focused on the city of Jinan, that attempts to confront the Chinese urban energy challenge by intervening at the scale of neighborhoods, commercial districts, and real estate projects – the fundamental building blocks of urban growth. The work takes a life-cycle energy use perspective and integrates empirical evidence, urban design studios, and an assessment tool, the “Energy Pro-forma,” which enables urban designers and developers to estimate the net energy use implied in urban development proposals. The ultimate goal is to not only help designers and developers create more energy efficient urban projects, but also to facilitate the creation of new public policies and standards for neighborhood energy performance for application at the local and national levels.

China Urban Development Discussion Series in Spring 2012 is cosponsored by: Department of Urban Studies and Planning in the MIT School of Architecture + Planning, MIT Graduate Student Life Grants, and MIT Graduate Student Council. For more information, please visit our website . Our seminars are free and open to the public.

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