An Oregon 501(c)3 Public Benefit Corporation

Reg. no. 462867-95


Sustasis in the news:

               Review of our new book Cities Alive: Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander and the Roots of the New Urban Renaissance, in Public Square journal

               Our research published by Delft University of Technology, showing the connection between sprawl and up to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions

               Executive Director Michael Mehaffy interviewed in the Guardian newspaper about tall buildings and their impacts on livability 

               UN-Habitat article about event at COP21 with Executive Director Michael Mehaffy

               Our interview in Scientific American about "planning and pseudo-science," with our ESRG colleague Stephen Marshall

               Our interview on Voice of America about the power of cities -- and the limits of 'density' in isolation             


New Reports and Resources

NEW BOOK DRAFT available for review and comment - A Pattern Language for Growing Regions. Help us with this exciting project!

INTERVIEW with Ward Cunningham, inventor of Wiki and pioneer of Pattern Languages of Programming, Agile, et al.

NEW BOOK!  Cities Alive: Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander and the Roots of the New Urban Renaissance.

ADDRESS TO HABITAT III CONFERENCE on implementing the "New Urban Agenda" by Michael Mehaffy, Executive Director

VIEW TRAILER FROM OUR FORTH- COMING FILM:  "Christopher Alexander: Life in Buildings." (And please consider a modest donation in support of completing this important project.)

ANNOUNCING OUR NEW BOOK   "A City is Not a Tree, 50th Anniversary Edition" of the landmark paper by Christopher Alexander

Our new book: Design for a Living Planet - now available

New video: Mathematician and urbanist Nikos A. Salingaros on "Pattern Language and Form Language" - a mini-course online that introduces the work of Alexander as well as Salingaros

A NEW GENERATION OF WIKI:  "Federated Wiki," in development led by Sustasis board member Ward Cunningham, takes forward his world-changing invention, with new applications for neighborhood-scale planning (among others)


REPORT: The impact of tall buildings, including new research and case studies

NEW LINKS TO CLASSIC FILMS: Important films by and about the work of Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, Kevin Lynch and more.


new on-line course modules in sustainable urban development.

REPORT: "The unbearable costs of sprawl:" the link between the mortgage meltdown, the global financial crisis, and unsustainable land use 





Developing and applying neighborhood-scale tools for the complex challenges of the future




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About the Sustasis Foundation


The Foundation’s name, Sustasis, is a Greek word that means “to stand together" as in a collaboration.  The Foundation is a small catalytic organization that seeks to convene other collaborators in strategic ways, and thereby leverage its small resources for maximum effect.  We develop and share tools to promote vibrant, livable neighborhoods, while at the same time addressing the critical issues of resource depletion and climate change.  We focus on capacity-building tools at the neighborhood scale, including codes, pattern languages, peer-to-peer design tools, and regulatory tools and incentives that make it easier to do good development.

We were formed in 2007 to take forward recovery planning work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  Working as part of the Unified New Orleans Plan team, we recognized that "top-down" planning and aid from government entities would not be sufficient, and new "bottom-up" approaches were also badly needed -- including peer-to-peer and "capacity-building" tools at the neighborhood scale.  Following the suggestion of Andy Kopplin, Executive Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, we incorporated as a non-profit "public benefit" corporation to take forward this work. (A description of this work is available at    Since then we have continued our work on a related set of topics within a range of projects in the US and internationally.    


Our foundation’s work can be divided into three categories:


Project consulting, research and publication activities:  We work on a number of project collaborations, including neighborhood-scale development projects and peer-reviewed research.  We focus on the topics of sustainable urban development, climate change, and social and ecological resilience.  Executive director Michael Mehaffy serves as advisor to a number of research projects and NGOs, and sits on the boards of three international urban research journals.  He works with the Council for European Urbanism, the Portland Metro regional government, the Portland+Oregon Sustainability Institute, and other partners and allies with similar missions.


Michael has also played a strategic role in the recovery planning of New Orleans, where he developed proposals for resilience and capacity-building.  A notable example is a proposal for "Neighborhood Resource Recovery Centers" that is now part of the Unified New Orleans Plan, which has now been adopted as the City's permanent master plan.

ESRG – The Environmental Structure Research Group:  The ESRG is a consortium or "research coordination network" that we facilitate, convening over 30 leading researchers from around the world, including Christopher Alexander, Nikos Salingaros, Wiki inventor Ward Cunningham, and a number of other "thought leaders," researchers, academics and practitioners.  


The ESRG has held a number of symposia (at University College London, the University of Oregon, New Orleans and elsewhere) and published a number of papers on sustainable development and best practice in design, in Journal of Urbanism, Urban Design International and other leading professional journals.

For more information see our web page about the ESRG.

INTBAU – USA: Sustasis Foundation is the legal entity that hosts the USA chapter of INTBAU, the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism.  INTBAU is a UK charity dedicated to the study, protection and regeneration of resilient local neighborhoods and buildings around the world.  It is a patronage of the Prince of Wales, and sister charity of The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, where Sustasis executive director Michael Mehaffy served as the first Director of Education.  Through the 501(c)3 status of Sustasis, we can take fully tax-deductible donations in the US. 

INTBAU USA held its start-up conference in New Orleans in 2007, where many members are still involved in rebuilding work with our many allies there.  Our board includes leading representatives of the University of Miami,  the University of Notre Dame, the Institute for Classical Architecture and Arts, the Building Process Alliance, the New Urban Guild, and others.

For more information about INTBAU and the USA chapter, see

We are grateful for your support, however modest! We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit in the USA and all donations by US taxpayers are tax-deductible. We are registered with GuideStar, an information service for non-profit transparency and accountability.  For more information visit our Guidestar Exchange Member page. 

You can make a donation conveniently via this link:

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We welcome your interest in this work, and we welcome your contact!


Sustasis Foundation

742 SW Vista Ave., #42

Portland, OR 97205


Email: sustasisfoundation at the gmail domain