About Us

The Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) is a center for planning and development within the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP)CoLab facilitates the interchange of knowledge and resources between MIT and community organizations. We engage students to be practitioners of this approach to community change and sustainability. 


Putting Theory into Practice


CoLab works with MIT students, faculty, staff, and technical resources to translate its vision and mission into practice. We:



CoLab utilizes its convening power to engage marginalized communities with strategic partners and stakeholders – and with each other – to build leadership capacity within those communities.


We serve as a research and development hub which harness the depth of wisdom in marginalized communities to address issues of inequality. CoLab applies unique participatory planning tools to generate knowledge from communities consistently overlooked in traditional development planning.


CoLab engages directly with marginalized communities during disruptive moments of change, working at the ground level with community leaders to help determine how local assets can be utilized to catalyze economic, social, and racial justice.


Disruptive Moments of Change

Disruptive moments of change generation opportunities for transformation. At CoLab, our economic democracy work is guided by our characteristic "Pivot Point" approach, which strives to produce shared wealth and collective well-being. Democratic engagement and urban sustainability with communities facing moments of disruptive change have opened the potential for new economic and societal possibilities. 



CoLab supports communities working on equitable, democratic, and sustainable development in the Americas...



CoLab translates its vision and mission into knowledge-creation, practice, teaching, service, and professional education by...



CoLab has its roots in the MIT Community Fellows Program, an effort of over 25 years by the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning...