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How will the COVID-19 crisis reshape the way how we live and work?

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an enormous impact on the world and has introduced new norms to how we work, educate, and live in a very short period of time. Experts predict that pandemics and climate change will continue to disrupt our lives in the future. As the virus spread across the world, cities shut down, social distancing was introduced, preventing families and friends to meet, schools and childcare services have ceased their operations, businesses have been struggling, health care systems were overloaded, and our reliance on technology has greatly increased to sustain social connections and work engagements. Most certainly this disruption will have a permanent impact on how we live and work in the future. The pandemic has impacted how we interact in public and private spaces and has completely changed how the human environment is inhabited requiring dynamic adaptions to distance rules and separation previously unnecessary. Future outbreaks might require that the built environment as well as our infrastructure remains flexible, required space for human interaction might vary – by test results and infection statistics.

This pandemic illustrates that we can no longer ignore urban and environmental issues and instead use them as an opportunity to look ahead, develop thought leadership, ideas, and future orientation for thoughtful discourse and dialog across a variety of disciplines.

This Future Lab will allow co-op students [Innovation Fellows] to select a thematic umbrella to work under. Operating in teams, the fellows will define new problems, apply different models and produce concepts, ideas and suggested implementations. Involved in primary research of data collection and evaluation, students will engage in creative methods within and outside of their disciplines encouraging innovation and problem solving.


  • Plan and renew urban environments
  • Reprogramming mono-purpose to hybrid spaces
  • Community resiliency
  • WFH (Working From Home) puts a new focus on the neighborhood and reprograms the home
  • Dynamic Role of public transportation in light of social distancing, remote work
  • Increasing urban and depleting rural environments


  • Public spaces
  • Workplace Design
  • WFH practicalities, e.g. policies, schedules, home configurations
  • Retail spaces and needs
  • Student housing and remote learning
  • Hospital and other care environments
  • Adaptable design
  • Temporary design of spaces, e.g. for hospitals, stranded travelers, students


  • Craftsmanship and DIY as strategy
  • Balancing local and global consumption and interactions
  • Historical precedence cases and learnings for the future
  • Data collection for city comparisons regarding structure, density, social determinants, etc.
  • Positive impact on climate resiliency
  • Material usage and innovative materials
  • Senior population is growing world-wide significantly and is one of the most vulnerable populations
  • Urban settlements encroach on natural areas and breeding grounds increasing interaction between humans and wildlife
  • Human behavior, ignorance and limitations to free movement/travel


The Future Lab lasts 13 weeks at 32 hrs/week.


The goals of this Innovation Lab lay in the process of research, experimentation and inquiry which will be continuously documented. As an interdisciplinary endeavor, the definition of the problem is the first part of the projects aiming beyond the design of urban or architectural space in the classical sense of the architecture or design profession but letting the issue and related findings dictate the solution. Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship and the making of things, programs or tools, it allows our students to learn from a variety of industries and disciplines while defining new roles for themselves in this interrupted time.


  • Become immersed in a variety of disciplines and connect with external corporations, design firms, communities
  • Dive deeper into one of three tracks
  • Develop weekly artifacts
  • Build towards a digital/physical publication that will be distributed to employers across different disciplines to inform future thinking


  • Get exposure to remote tools for collaboration
  • Ideate virtually to generate ideas and concepts
  • Prototype/test concepts with stakeholders
  • Receive daily check-ins and guidance with an assigned staff mentor
  • Work with a faculty advisor within architecture
  • Receive mentoring from faculty members from other disciplines
  • Connect to external mentors from a variety of industries, communities, and government entities


  • Work as part of a small and nimble team
  • Develop tools to support effective team collaboration virtually
  • Reflect on your own and others strengths and performances as part of a team


Through each week Innovation Fellows will create artifacts to document conversations with experts, insights gained, develop instruments to generate concepts and data, and map ideas. Each step will be visualized leading to a joint publication and video in the end that each Fellow can utilize as part of their resume and portfolio. It will also be shared with Wentworth employer and alumni base and disseminated across Boston’s ecosystem.

  • Weekly artifacts to document investigations and real-world connection points
  • Weekly insights published in team blogs
  • Visualization and video recording of insights
  • Culmination of artifacts into a final publication for each student to add to their portfolios/resumes and to be distributed to employers
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