Expanding Access to Thesis Research

by Peter Sigrist


MIT's CoLab Radio and Polis are teaming up to build a collection of Thesis Chronicles, or concise narratives of thesis projects by planning students from around the world. CoLab Radio has envisioned this as a platform for mutual exchange between research and practice. They explain:
Every year thousands of students hand their brains over to their thesis topics. They produce some of the freshest ideas on the world’s most pressing issues: energy efficiency, social justice, media, affordable housing, race, transportation, food distribution and general urban planning, among others. Most of the time, however, the final product lands on a shelf in a university library where few people ever find it or even know to look for it.

CoLab Radio wants thesis research to make it out to policy makers and into communities in an accessible form. Even if the right people were able to find your thesis, would they have time to read 100+ pages of the dense academic language that many theses use?  
That’s why we’re inviting any thesis writer from any university in any country to submit a concept for a thesis chronicles series this year.  Knowledge and research generated in academia should be accessible to and co-generated with people working on the ground; a blog series is one piece in making that possible. In addition, you’ll be able to get feedback on your work and be part of a national / international community of urban planning-related thesis writers.


Examples include John Arroyo's "Art, Civic Space, and Urban Design along the LA River" and Gayle Christiansen's "Camden: Small Businesses Transform Place." If you have a thesis project that would be of interest to readers of Polis and CoLab, please contact us at info@thepolisblog.org or colabradio@mit.edu. 

Credits: Images appear courtesy of John Arroyo and CoLab Radio.