The MIT Center for Real Estate (CRE) has announced a new leadership team. Siqi Zheng, Samuel Tak Lee Professor of Real Estate Development and Entrepreneurship, has taken on the role of Faculty Director. Kairos Shen, associate professor of the practice, acts as the centre’s executive director. Zheng and Shen took up their new positions last summer.
Zheng will lead CRE’s intellectual and research mission. This includes the expansion of the center’s interdisciplinary connections within the School of Architecture and Planning (SA + P) and MIT; Increase the global impact of the CRE by supporting innovative research including, for example, sustainability and healthy buildings; as well as promoting an expanded portfolio of online and on-site courses for practitioners.
As the executive director, Shen will work closely with Zheng on the strategic direction of the center. lead the Master of Science Real Estate Development (MSRED) program and curriculum enrichment; Developing new channels for engaging with industry; and monitor the day-to-day operations of CRE.
“We are very excited about this new leadership team from Siqi and Kairos,” says Hashim Sarkis, Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. “Since joining MIT in 2017, Siqi has made important contributions to teaching and research and will strengthen the sustainability issue in our MSRED curriculum. Kairos, who served as the planning director for the city of Boston, Massachusetts, brings a wealth of field experience, administrative expertise and deep insight into the impact of real estate on the design of cities. “
During her time at MIT, Zheng founded and ran the Samuel Tak Lee Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab, the China Future City Lab, and the Sustainable Urbanization Lab. As a past president of the Asian Real Estate Society, Zheng is a board member of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association. She recently received a major scholarship to study the role of social distancing in shaping the Covid-19 curve using data from 344 Chinese cities.
Zheng specializes in urban and environmental economics and politics, including environmental sustainability, location-based politics (new planned cities and transport infrastructure) and self-sustaining urban growth. As the author of numerous academic journal articles in the field of urban and environmental economics, Zheng was co-author of “Blue Skies over Beijing: Economic Growth and Environment in China” (together with Matthew Kahn, Princeton University Press) and co-editor of “Toward Urban Economic Liveliness: Patterns and Practices in the New Cities of Asia ”(with Zhengzhen Tan, SA + P Press). She will teach the course “Sustainable Real Estate: Economy and Business” in the spring semester.
“Looking ahead, we will strengthen CRE’s research capacity and build strong synergies between research, education and industry engagement,” says Zheng. “With our unique position at the School of Architecture and Planning and our close connection to other schools and programs on campus, we see real estate as an opportunity to influence cities and communities. We pursue multidisciplinary strategies to push the boundaries of urban and real estate research. and we want to provide our students with the knowledge and skills to invent real estate solutions for the economic, environmental and social sustainability of our cities. “
Shen MA ’91, MArch ’91 is a Masters graduate from the Department of Architecture. In his 22 years of service with the City of Boston, he led many projects that have positively changed many areas of the city, including the South Boston Waterfront Innovation District. the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center; and the neighborhoods of Fenway, Allston, and Nubian Square. Shen returned to MIT in 2016 to teach. He currently teaches the 11.305 course (Doing Good by Doing Good: Case Studies of Planning and Development That Promote Both Common Good and Real Estate Value) and will teach 11.303J / 4.254 J (Real Estate Development Studio) in the spring semester.
“The CRE differs from most other real estate programs in that it is part of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning,” says Shen. “Our program is not just about real estate from a business perspective, it takes a much broader, interdisciplinary approach.” How the industry can affect the built environment as a whole. Our educational goal is to use real estate as a tool to address urban-level challenges: improving health, social equality and environmental sustainability by incorporating research and innovations in the fields of design, planning and engineering. “
Dennis Frenchman, professor of urban design and planning in the 1922 class and director of the center since 2018, resigned from MIT in September. The Frenchman, who has two Masters degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning at MIT, was also the co-founder and director of MITdesignX. He began teaching at MIT in 1983.
“I would like to recognize Dennis for his dedicated leadership and advocacy for real estate development as an ‘urban development’ company, including the ability to make significant social contributions from those in the industry,” said Sarkis.