Case Study Initiative

Multimedia Content for Educators Worldwide







The MIT Case Study Initiative builds multimedia curriculum for urban planning, public policy, and real estate development education at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional development levels. MIT Case Studies immerse students into real-world scenarios addressing pressing social issues, such as gentrification, planning for climate change, multi-national real estate development, and equitable transit-oriented development.

Through an innovative production process that combines academic research, documentary-style filmmaking, and user experience design, we collaborate with MIT faculty in the School of Architecture + Planning to transform a proven teaching tool – the case study – into a digital learning environment. Multimedia cases merge text, videos, photos, documents, data, maps, assessments, and custom interactions, empowering students to problem‑solve and empathize with on‑the‑ground decision‑making. Through active learning, students respond to content that is engaging, interactive, and human.

Cases are built as linear, narrative stories, with a series of chapters that contain supplemental information for deeper dives. Each piece of content is also built to be modular, giving instructors the ability to reorder, rearrange, and even create new content. This allows instructors to construct customized cases that respond to their diverse classroom needs.

The Case Study Initiative piloted the cases below during 2016 & 2017. Watch the following video to learn more.


MIT Case Study Platform - Teaser Video








NOTE: The following pilot cases were built for demo purposes only and are in BETA. They must be viewed on a desktop/laptop in the CHROME browser (download). If you're interested in using a case in class, please contact us.



Conservatorio: A Case Study of Quadruple Bottom Line Development in Central America

Rethinking Urban Revitalization in Panama City

Principal Investigator: Albert Saiz

Topics: Social impact, community development, international development, real estate development, urban design, development without displacement, urban planning, public policy, equitable development

Read More  |  Teaching Notes (Coming Soon)  |  Launch (Chrome + Desktop/Laptop ONLY)

Description: An interactive, multimedia case study about social impact urban development in Panama City, Panama. The case study profiles a unique approach to urban revitalization led by the real estate firm Conservatorio, which is enacting a quadruple bottom line development strategy (economic, social, environmental, cultural) in the historic neighborhood of Casco Viejo. The case study describes Conservatorio’s unusual business model and real estate investments, its social and cultural investments, explores the motivations of several key stakeholders involved, and the controversial and often difficult work of revitalizing an underinvested neighborhood without displacing current residents. Through several custom-created games and simulations, students have the opportunity to try their hand at Conservatorio’s urban development business model.

Team: Albert Saiz, Lyndsey Rolheiser, Ariana Salazar, Chris Boebel, Carolina Hollmann, Sarah Ginsburg, Amanda Justice, Ricky Barría, Jose Fossatti, David Chong, Danya Sherman, Jeff Soyk, Rob Rayfield, Billy Wirasnik




Forest City: A Case Study of a Real Estate Megaproject in Asia

Foreign Developers and Local Impacts in Malaysia

Principal Investigator: Lawrence Susskind

Topics: International development, social impact, sustainable development, real estate development, equitable development, urban planning, public policy

Read More  |  Teaching Notes  |  Launch (Chrome + Desktop/Laptop ONLY)

Description: This interactive, multimedia case tells the ongoing story of an effort by a high-profile Chinese real estate developer (Country Garden) to build the largest gated community (Forest City) in Asia for as many as 700,000 residents at an estimated cost of $100 billion, on reclaimed land in the Strait of Johor, between Malaysia and Singapore. The controversy that arose in 2014 over the social and environmental impacts of the project caused the Malaysian courts to stop the project temporarily, even though state and local permits had been granted. This led to a somewhat scaled-down version of the project, as well as a requirement that the developer pay compensation to fishermen and villagers who were already adversely affected.

Team: Lawrence Susskind (senior), Takeo Kuwabara, Marcel Williams, Alaa Mukahhal, Nick Allen, Mira Vale, Sam Barnard, Griffin Smith, Syahida Azali, Jannah Razak, Serina Rahman (senior), Paige Mazurek, Jeff Soyk, Danya Sherman




Sunset Golf Course: A Case Study about Planning for Resiliency in North America

Responding to Proposals as a Planner in Southeast Florida

Principal Investigators: Miho Mazereeuw & Fadi Masoud

Topics: Urban planning, real estate development, climate change, resiliency, social impact, environmental planning, community development, urban design

Read More  |  Teaching Notes  |  Launch (Chrome + Desktop/Laptop ONLY)

Description: This interactive, multimedia case details the real story of a golf course redevelopment project in Hollywood, Florida, USA. The Sunset Golf Course owner wants to develop the property, and a developer has proposed three schemes. Community residents are concerned about overdevelopment in the neighborhood. Regional considerations, especially climate change and other environmental impacts, complicate matters. The story of Sunset Golf Course is used to showcase the issues of land use planning and real estate development in a highly environmentally sensitive area of southeastern coastal Florida, which is experiencing intensive and increasing flooding, saltwater intrusion, and other environmental impacts related to climate change. In addition to the environmental pressure, Broward County, which encompasses the city of Hollywood, is experiencing development pressure as population continues to rise in the area. The case’s first half describes the local controversy surrounding the Sunset Golf Course, and the second half focuses more broadly on the regional context of climate change - related impacts. The case examines the proposal from several different stakeholders’ points of view, including residents, developers, the City government, and several regional actors.

Team: Fadi Masoud, Miho Mazereeuw, Laura Winig, Paige Mazurek, Jeff Soyk, Danya Sherman





Ciudad Azteca: A Case Study of a Public-Private Transit Project in North America

Transit-Oriented Development in Mexico City

Principal Investigator: P. Christopher Zegras

Topics: Transit oriented development, real estate development, urban planning, public policy, public-private partnerships, international development, equitable development

Read More  |  Teaching Notes (Coming Soon)  |  Launch (Chrome + Desktop/Laptop ONLY)

Description: This interactive, multimedia case study tells the story of Ciudad Azteca, a privately-funded, publicly owner multi-modal public transit station located in the municipality of Ecatepec, a dense urban settlement in metropolitan Mexico City. Previously a chaotic, open-air transfer station (essentially a parking lot), the modernized station’s design and programming combines commercial facilities, a hospital, several transit modes, and more. The station has also implemented a security program and technological upgrades for the colectivo system, two things that have improved passenger and visitor safety. The station was the first attempt at modernizing a CETRAM (Centro de Transferencia Modal, or multi-modal transfer station) through a public-private partnership in metropolitan Mexico City. Since Azteca was completed, several other CETRAMs are undergoing modernization through public-private schemes. Thus, the costs, benefits, and implications of Azteca’s development provide valuable lessons as cities across the globe struggle to build better urban transit infrastructure and upgrade unsafe conditions, amidst tight municipal budgets. In the case of megacities like Mexico City -where commutes can take upwards of two hours each way and negatively impact the poorest citizens the most- the stakes are even higher.

Team: P. Christopher Zegras, Santiago Fernandez Reyes, Paige Mazurek, Danya Sherman, Jeff Soyk, Noelle Marcus Alexandra Geller, Alejandro Morales, Onesimo Flores, Weijia Song, Rob Rayfield








The founding team of the MIT Case Study Initiative led production and development of the pilot case studies above.


Albert Saiz
Director, Center for Real Estate
Daniel Rose Associate Professor of Urban Economics and Real Estate


Danya Sherman
Initiative Manager



Jeff Soyk
Creative Director
UI & UX Designer



Paige Mazurek
Video Producer









Please contact us with any inquiries.




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