If you ever have two hours to kill in Cambridge, Massachusetts, skip the museums and take a seat looking onto the sidewalk. Listen for laughter and plans being hatched; watch for lots of texting and Google Maps-orienting. At least that’s what Carlo Ratti recommends. “It’s like you do in Paris,” he said. “Just observe the life unfolding before you”—online and in the flesh.
People-watching may have been a slightly wistful tip. On a daffodil afternoon made more spectacular by an earlier forecast of rain, Ratti was stuck inside a glass-walled conference room at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, taking team meetings, client phone calls, and media interviews.