China Summer Workshop

The STL-MISTI China Socially Responsible Real Estate Entrepreneurship Summer Workshop is a collaboration between

During the summer of 2016, the STL Lab sent its first cohort of STL-MISTI Summer Fellows to run summer workshops at six Chinese universities. The eight Fellows represented a diversity of MIT departments, including the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the Department of Economics, and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  The Fellows underwent several weeks of training that focused on entrepreneurship, real estate, and development in the Chinese context, as well as their role in relation to the STL Lab's mission. All parties involved learned a great deal from the summer, and this coming year the STL Lab is excited to build upon those experiences!

In the summer of 2017, a group of selected MIT student fellows will form a teaching team to run a series of Summer Workshops for Chinese university students and youth. Hosted by Chongqing University and Qingdao University of Science and Technology (QUST), the main objective of the workshops is to engage MIT and Chinese students on topics of socially responsible real estate entrepreneurship and urban development. Furthermore, a variety of innovative teaching tools developed by the STL Lab (e.g. online courses, games, and case studies) will be utilized during the workshop to experiment with blended learning, a non-traditional pedagogical strategy. Fellows will also make connections with local developers, planners, scholars, entrepreneurs and study local real estate cases. Each university workshop will run for two weeks. In Qingdao, the STL Lab will pilot a one-week workshop for high school students.

STL-MISTI Summer Fellowship Details (Application Deadline: December 15th)

The 2017 STL-MISTI Summer Fellows cohort will be a team of 4-5 MIT students from a variety of backgrounds. Preference will be given to those with interest and experience with planning, real estate, and/or China. As a part of the fellowship:

  • Fellows will receive $8,000, and will have lodging & lunch expenses paid for while the summer workshops are in session.
  • Fellows will gain exposure to local developers, government officials, scholars, and entrepreneurs as part of the Workshop.
  • Fellows will participate in 3 summer workshops, one hosted at Chongqing and two hosted at Qingdao, There will be two university workshops lasting two weeks and one high school workshop lasting one week. In total, the duration of time that Fellows are required to devote to the workshops is FIVE weeks in the summer of 2017.
  • Preparation for the Summer Workshops will begin in February 2017. Approximately 40 hours’ work would be expected during curriculum development. This includes working with the STL Lab and other Fellows on the course syllabus, attending training sessions with MISTI-China and the STL Lab, and identifying local case studies to be included in the workshop.
  • Provide brief report about the summer workshop after the completion of the workshop.
  • Take one of two STLx MOOC online courses. Below are the course details:
    • 11.483  Land and Housing Policies in Rapidly Urbanization Regions (by Yu-Hung Hong) 
    • STL.162  Social and Environmental Impacts Assessment: the Key to Socially responsible Real Estate Development (by Larry Susskind) 

The application for 2017 STL-MISTI Summer Fellows will include:

  • A one-page letter of motivation,
  • Resume or CV,
  • MIT transcript,
  • MIT faculty letter of recommendation.

with a preference for those with interest in and experience with planning, real estate, and/or China.


Applications are due December 15, 2016, with interviews to follow.

Application link:

Please email for more information about the STL-MISTI Summer Fellowship.

Summer Workshop Experience



I am working full-time as a real estate project manager for a senior housing developer and many of our clients are Chinese, so understanding the real estate and program expectations of this market is very important. In addition, China will be a growing market for senior housing development so through participation in this program I was able to meet government officials and real estate professionals from companies such as Vanke and JLL to grow my network for future career opportunities […] Personally, I took a few years of Chinese in high school and had always wanted to travel to China to deepen my understanding of the culture and improve my language skills. One of my favorite parts of the summer camp was working with the students on their capstone redevelopment proposals. It was rewarding for me as a teacher to see their progression from Day 1, where we developed rich definitions of socially responsible real estate, to their final presentations in front of the faculty which were not only in English (a feat!) but creative in the ways that they proposed uniquely Chinese socially responsible designs and program goals. Outside of the classroom, I enjoyed going on the classic Chinese group tours (with tour bus, loud speaker and flag) to natural parks, temples and city neighborhoods in and around Chongqing, Qingdao and Hong Kong.”

---Elise Selinger, MIT Master of City Planning, Class of 2016, Real Estate Innovation Manager, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE)


As a researcher studying Chinese urban planning, the chance to interact with current and future Chinese planners, developers, and government officials was invaluable. So, too, was the opportunity to work with Chinese students. Traveling across China to work at a diversity of academic institutions with students of various backgrounds helped develop my understanding of the Chinese educational system. Working with students eager to gain a deeper sense of how America approaches urban development was a rewarding intellectual and social process. To gain a textured sense of how urban planning is conducted in China, nothing rivals actually discussing the matter with the actors involved day-to-day. Doing so in their work environment also makes a big difference. My study of Chinese urban planning back at MIT was inherently constrained by the relatively calm environment that predominates in Cambridge—exposure to the fast-paced life of China is always a helpful reminder of the wholly different mindset that prevails there.”

---Saul Wilson, MIT Master of Science in Urban Studies and Planning (2016), is currently a Ph.D. student at the Harvard University Government Department.

Related News & Events

After a rigorous application and interview process, the Samuel Tak Lee MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab (STL Lab) has selected six summer teaching fellows for the 2017 STL-MISTI China Summer Workshops.

"The STL lab is very excited to work with this strong cohort of teaching fellows on the syllabus, teaching, and program development," Zhengzhen Tan, assistant director for the lab, said. "With the diverse backgrounds of the teaching fellows, we will have a multi-disciplinary approach to the lab’s mission and curriculum."

This summer, the STL Lab launched the pilot program of the STL-MISTI China Summer Camp initiative. From June to August 2016, two MIT student teaching teams visited universities in Hohhot, Shanghai, Qingdao, Xiamen, Chongqing, and Hong Kong, for two weeks each at a time. These unique summer camps pooled the knowledge of MIT and Chinese partner universities, ultimately cultivating a dynamic learning environment that maximized and celebrated the strengths of students from diverse backgrounds, while honing their socially responsible planning and entrepreneurship skills. Campers engaged in a cross-cultural educational exchange about social responsibility, urban planning, real estate, and entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on contextually relevant, real-world practices.