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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Socially-Responsible Real Estate Development

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX


How can you determine if a proposed real estate development project is socially responsible? Or determine whether the developer used the tools of social impact assessment (SIA), environmental impact assessment (EIA), and public consultation effectively?

This course will teach you how to evaluate a development project and practice socially responsible real estate yourself by applying SIA, EIA, and consultation methods. It is also designed to help students build their own personal theory of what constitutes socially responsible real estate development.

Taught by a professor with more than forty-five years of teaching experience at MIT, using an applied case study method, this course will open new opportunities for real estate developers and urban planners to see how SIA, EIA, and stakeholder engagement are the keys to creating socially-responsible real estate development throughout the world.


Week 1: What is socially-responsible real estate development?
Introduction to the concept of socially-responsible real estate development and overview of estimating the social and environmental impacts of real estate development.
Week 2: Environmental Impact Assessments
Focus on the EIA process and its role in socially-responsible real estate development.
Week 3: Social Impact Assessments
Focus on the SIA process and its role in socially-responsible real estate development.
Week 4: Forest City Case Study and Dealing with an Angry Public
Overview and analysis of the ongoing Forest City case study in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Discussion of when to use EIA and SIA, dealing with angry publics, negotiating compensatory agreements, and the role of continuous adaptive management.
Week 5: Conclusion: Creating Shared Benefits
How to create shared benefits, meet stakeholder interests, and integrate the tools and processes you have learned in practice.

Taught by

Lawrence Susskind


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