1.90 - A Cross-Cultural Exploration around the Future of the City and Urban Life in the PostCOVID Era

Project Description

The MIT AgeLab proposes to collaborate with the University of Coimbra and the University of Porto to explore in both the U.S. and in Portugal people’s perspectives on residential density and desirability of urban areas in the post-COVID-19 era. The goals of this work are to understand how people’s valuation of different aspects of residential density and urban life and their preferences for residential location have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how these perspectives and preferences have been shaped by individual factors including people’s age/generation. Ultimately, we seek to shed light on the future of urban life and the prospects of these to support the quality of life, mobility and well-being of a growing older population. The work directly contributes to MPP2030’s goals of sustainable cities through understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic may have shifted people’s preferences around residential density, if at all, and how related effects of the pandemic, including around employment and the use of technology increasingly to access goods and services, may contribute to or pose challenges to the development of sustainable cities.

MIT Principal Investigator: Joseph F. Coughlin, MIT AgeLab, Center for Transportation & Logistics

Research Team


  • Joseph F. Coughlin, Director and PI, MIT AgeLab, Center for Transportation & Logistics
  • Lisa D’Ambrosio, Research Scientist, MIT AgeLab, Center for Transportation & Logistics
  • John Rudnik, Research Associate I, MIT AgeLab, Center for Transportation & Logistics

University of Coimbra

  • Anabela Ribeiro
  • Ana Bastos

University of Porto

  • Fernando Alves
  • Sara Cruz
Financial Support
  • Application for MIT Portugal Partnership (MPP2030) Research Seed Fund Program - 2020