An alumnus writes, "The Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement (SIGUS) has been the world's forefront research engine in developmental studies for almost 4 decades, linking housing, architecture, urban planning, and community interests in the Departments of Architecture and Urban Studies. Its focus on developing areas worldwide makes the program one of the world's most prominent in an interdisciplinary study of physical planning and design. With practical focus and "hand-on" approach which is the landmark of SIGUS, alumni from this program have gone to become very successful professionals in the field making "real different" to the world at large. For an institution devoting to serve public needs like MIT, the importance of SIGUS marks the milestone of MIT's dynamic in tellectual contributions to the world at large.

"SIGUS explores the new professionalism emerging for architects and planners, and concentrates on service, participation and non-traditional client groups. It offers workshops and short courses, and carry out research and outreach programs stressing participatory methods in promoting affordable and equitable housing. Established in 1984, SIGUS grew out of the rethinking of method, practice, and teaching driven by the rapidly expanding informal sector in both developing and developed countries. SIGUS Director Professor Reinhard Goethert, a recipient of the prestigious United Nations Habitat Scroll of Honor, an international award for "outstanding contributions in the development of innovative methodologies, has been at MIT for 40 years -- as a student, researcher, professor, and director of the SIGUS."

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