WHAT'S IN: innovation in emerging urban living environments


About us

Design Research                                               Past Exhibits                                                       Publications

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WHAT’S IN is a research initiative aiming to solve the housing affordability crisis through an intersection of design, policy and technology. We are a group of young designers, architects, and entrepreneurs based in Boston who want to live in the city and take advantage of all the exciting amenities it has to offer. Since its first conception, WHAT’S IN has conducted focus groups, online surveys and has designed and built a 300 square feet mock-up micro-unit. We are also working closely with Boston Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab as an adviser to their policy change process. 

In 2012 we expanded our investigations into small-living as a model for affordable and sustainable urban housing. We organized crowd-sourced design workshops to examine existing constraints, developed newer models of smart urban living, and tested these ideas through market research. Concurrently, we conducted studies on construction methods, environmental impact, and policy issues pertaining to this new living model. Our hope is to create a platform of discussion and to generate well-rounded small-living prototypes that could make our cities more livable.

Since the beginning of WHAT'S IN we have expanded our research to urban social spaces as a way to make compact living more achievable, this includes studies in both the private and public realm with the aim to provide supplemental space for activity and engagement. Our latest research took cues from sociological theories and historical examples, and examined many successful open spaces in non-housing settings. We then studied many highly-regarded housing projects and how they achieved at building strong living communities. We hope to start a dialog among all who desire affordable urban living, and influence other designers, developers, and policy makers to create more Meaningful Social Spaces in this emerging Urban Living Environment.


Many Thanks to our Sponsors and Collaborators