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MITx and EDx will change the need for physical space. Presumably, we will need less of it and will use what we have differently. I propose taking a forward look at what could be a new physical footprint for MIT by identifying those buildings that are iconic (the dome) and those that are too new to remove (from Simmons to the Sloan Building/Broad); these are the buildings that remain. All other buildings would become "optional". What would we do with the revised footprint? How would we use the space? Would we use the space? Would we create innovation zones on campus? Would we phase out some of the residence facilities? Would we create telecommuting auditoriums? Physical chat rooms where students in Cambridge could gather to interact with students around the world? What would be the implications from a financial perspective? How much of the campus could you tear down and break even assuming that the need for the physical space no longer exists?
Of course this addresses the physical space footprint in Cambridge. Where are there other aggregations around the world? What is the cost of providing gathering points in those hubs? Global sprawl could be the result. How would we contain or manage it? Do MIT's international hubs create mini Kendall Squares around the world? Is there a way for us to tap into the economies we create?