Cities and the Informal Economy: Rethinking Urban Development, Planning and Design

UPD 5397 (HGSD), SUP-688 (HKS), 11. S 946 (DUSP, MIT)

Course Instructors: Martha Chen (HKS), Rahul Mehrotra (HGSD), Bish Sanyal (DUSP, MIT)

Harvard GSD and HKS, and MIT are jointly offering this course

Registration processes vary by school. All students will be given access to the Harvard Canvas site. See below for more information and instructions.

  • HKS students will enroll in the HKS iteration of the course, SUP-688, via standard HKS registration procedures.
  • GSD and all other Harvard students will enroll in the GSD iteration of the course, UPD SES 5397.
  • MIT students must obtain permission to enroll in S946 and have access to the Harvard Canvas site prior to the first course meeting on Thursday, January 28th. MIT students interested in taking the course must email Patti Foley ( with their Harvard HUID or XID no later than January 22nd. MIT students need to have an HUID or set up an X-ID in order to access the Harvard Canvas site. (Instructions: MIT students will enroll in the MIT iteration of the course once MIT enrollment opens.

Course structure and schedule: The course is organized as three modules. Each of module consists of asynchronous lectures and synchronous class discussions. Pre-recorded lectures, reading, and other materials will be made available through Canvas for students to work on their own time. The class will meet on Thursdays from 10 to 11.30 am for live discussions with the instructor of the module; students are expected to attend this session. The synchronous session will be a combination of lectures, workshops, and discussion (collective as well as in break out rooms). This will vary in each module. Each week an instructor will lead the synchronous meeting. More details are on the syllabus. The first course meeting will be held on Thursday, January 28th.

Information sessions:

  • HKS shopping session, Thursday, 1/21, 1:30-2:45pm (See HKS website for more information)
  • GSD course presentation, Thursday 01/21 at 11.05 AM – 11.35 AM (See Course Presentation Website for Zoom link)


Nusrat Mim, Course Assistant,