Founder and Director
Helena H Rong is an urbanist and designer with interdisciplinary training. She is a PhD candidate at Columbia University’s Planning Department. Previously, she received her Master of Science in Urbanism (SMArchS) degree from MIT and Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University, where she graduated with the Charles Goodwin Sands Memorial Silver Award (1st Place Thesis Award). Rong works as a Research Associate at the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab, where she leads the “Value of Design” research pillar, studying the impacts of architectural design features on commercial real estate asset pricing. Previously, Rong was a researcher at the MIT Senseable City Lab, where she has designed and built an AR engagement platform for Roboat, the first fleet of autonomous boats in Amsterdam, and led the development of a model for travel optimization to museums in Amsterdam using autonomous waterborne vehicles. Rong is the founding principal of CIVIS Design and Advisory LLC, an interdisciplinary design and research practice based in Boston. Through working at OMA Rotterdam Headquarters, SOM New York and Neri+Hu Design and Research Office in Shanghai in the past, Rong has gained professional experience in both architectural and urban design in an international context.