Carlo Ratti


(0.1) Carlo’s bio

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(0.1) Carlo’s bio

Carlo Ratti is a scientist, designer, and public intellectual working on the future of cities and the built environment. One of the top ten most-cited scholars in the field of urban planning, he teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, where he directs the Senseable City Lab, and is Distinguished Professor of urban studies at the Politecnico di Milano. Carlo is also a founding partner of the international design and innovation office CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati (New York City, Turin, and London) and has established several tech startups in the United States and Europe. A prolific public speaker, author, curator, and consultant to leading NGOs and governments, Carlo has been shaping the global debate on cities. His work includes the influence of big data and digital technologies on urban life, the future of mobility, participatory urban design and the convergence between the natural and artificial world.

Recently nominated curator of the 19th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, he aims to foster a public conversation on the future of cities and the built environment.

Carlo graduated with degrees in engineering and architecture from the Politecnico di Torino and the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris, and later earned his MPhil and Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK. In 2004, he co-founded the MIT Senseable City Lab, which explores the impact of digital technologies on how we conceive, design, and live in cities, pioneering the ever-evolving use of data in urban studies. In his academic capacity, Ratti has co-authored over 750 scientific publications, including the recent “Atlas of the Senseable City” (Yale University Press, co-authored with Antoine Picon, 2023), and developed applied research projects in collaboration with companies and local/national governments across five continents.

In the 2000s, Carlo and his MIT team pioneered the use of mobile phone data in urban studies. They have been using new sensing technologies to map physical and social phenomena that had previously been invisible – from socioeconomic segregation to air pollution in the streets. Their mathematical analysis of millions of taxi routes in New York City, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ushered in a new paradigm of ride-sharing. Two further articles published in Nature in 2021 expanded the aforementioned work and discovered new universal laws in urban mobility. Ratti has worked to make new tools accessible to cities everywhere, from using LIDAR to map the favelas of Brazil to using cell phones’ built-in accelerometers as an inexpensive early warning system for structural flaws in bridges.

Innovations lie at the core of his work as an architect, in which he has developed experimental office towers, visionary pavilions, and master plans in cities across the world: Brasilia, Paris, Dubai, Zaragoza, Helsinki, Singapore, Tainan, Milan, Rome, Boston, Lagos, Bangalore, Guadalajara, Melbourne, Shenzhen, Amsterdam, New York, Medellín, Stockholm, Toronto, and many more. His work has been exhibited worldwide at venues including New York City’s MoMA, the Venice Biennale, the Design Museum in Barcelona, the Science Museum in London, MAXXI in Rome, Expo 2015 Milan, and Expo 2020 Dubai.

He has consulted international bodies from the European Union to the Queensland Government, and is currently serving as Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization. He was a curator of the BMW Guggenheim Pavilion in Berlin, the chief curator at the 8th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Shenzhen, a co-curator at the second Porto Design Biennale, and a creative mediator at the European Nomadic Biennale Manifesta 14 Prishtina.

Beyond his work in the field, Carlo is a leading public advocate for a host of urban innovations. His vision for the city of the future is about integration: between natural and artificial elements, between urban planners and the feedback of everyday people, and within communities that are more isolated and polarized than ever before. He spreads his vision in op-eds and interviews with publications across the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Scientific American, Financial Times, The Guardian, BBC, Project Syndicate, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, and El Pais. He has authored and co-authored books including Atlas of the Senseable City (YUP, 2023) Urbanità (Eiunadi, 2023), The City of Tomorrow (2016), and Smart City, Smart Citizen (2013).

Bloomberg dubbed him the “Sensory City Philosopher.” He has appeared among “Names You Need To Know” in Forbes, as one of “50 people who will change the world” according to Wired, and as one of Esquire’s “Best and Brightest.” Fast Company hailed him as one of the “Most Influential Designers in America,” and Blueprint Magazine listed him as one of its “People Who Will Change the World of Design.” His focus on many scales of innovation – from products to buildings to cities – has led CRA to become the only design firm in the world to feature on TIME’s “Best Inventions of the Year” list three different times (2007, 2014, 2019).