Professor William J. Mitchell, pioneer of urban computing, RIP

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Professor William J. Mitchell, director of MIT's Design Laboratory and pioneering Smart Cities research group, died yesterday after a battle with cancer. Professor Mitchell was a brilliant and big thinker who wrote a series of seminal books, including Me++, City of Bits, and e-topia, about the intersection of humanity, networked intelligence, and the built environment. "Bill was a designer's designer and visionary about the impact of new media on human experience," says professor Ken Goldberg, director of UC Berkeley's Center for New Media, to which Mitchell was an advisor. "He was incredibly prolific and will leave a lasting impact on generations of designers and thinkers."

CaringBridge: Bill Mitchell
"Bill Mitchell, former dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, dies at age 65"


  1. He was an amazing man — one of the most caring, thoughtful, and deeply analytic professors I’ve ever met at MIT. He will be missed. The Media Lab has tragically lost of its greatest assets.

  2. oh my… bill was a brilliant thinker and tinkerer… he will truly be missed though his creative thinking will remain as an active part of everyone that worked with him.

  3. Definitely a brilliant thinker. His work was fundamentally transformative in the way I think about technology, architecture, and the built environment. After reading e-topia in grad school, and briefly corresponding with him, I completely changed the course of my thesis project, and ultimately, my entire career path.

  4. Bill gave me the chance to attend the Media Lab in 1998 and his support and generosity opened many doors for myself and many people I know.

    A great man and a very important thinker.

    David Cox

  5. He wasnt THE most brilliant.
    He didnt even have THE best taste.

    But he was the most relentlessly positive, energetic, forceful and ambitious. He was a small town man who never stopped. It wasnt just ambition for himself. It was ambition for the world. He was a booster. Kind and funny. The world needs more like him.

    I will miss him dearly.

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