Rumblings of a Boston bid for the 2024 Olympics have been bouncing around the city for months and it turns out that MIT is part of the crew evaluating the options. When the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) visited Boston Tuesday, they met with Israel Ruiz SM ‘01, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer, and others making the case for Boston as a center of innovation that could provide a walkable Olympics venue.
Ruiz serves as a cochair of the Boston 2024 Institutional Outreach Subcommittee, which is working to engage area universities in supporting the bid. This group is considering how institutions can use this event for broader goals such as outreach to K-12 students and educational opportunities for athletes after the games.
“We also foresee faculty engagement around innovation,” Ruiz told the MIT News office in a 3 Questions interview. “Professor Carlo Ratti of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and his colleagues from the Senseable City Lab have been talking with the Boston 2024 team about opportunities to use real-time urban data, such as cellphone network information, to better understand urban flows and patterns of activity. Using mobility patterns to reveal unused capacity in the transportation infrastructure could inform planning and help to achieve a walkable Olympics, complemented by appropriate transportation infrastructure.”
The Olympics could also showcase university facilities.
“Director of Athletics Julie Soriero is engaging with us to imagine how MIT might contribute to the games; the Institute offers one of the broadest intercollegiate athletics programs in the world, with 33 varsity sports overall. If Boston is successful and is ultimately selected as the host city, we are pursuing possibilities for MIT to provide the sporting venues for archery and fencing.”
President L. Rafael Reif welcomed the USOC group, the governor, Boston major, and presidents of University of Massachusetts at Boston, Northeastern, Tufts, and Bentley to the meeting, which also included a visit to the MIT Media Lab. The USOC decides in January among the four US cities—Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Boston. The next stage is an international competition among contending cities with a decision announced in 2017.