of 2014 Activities
By Michael Mehaffy, Executive Director
year we launched several important collaborative
partnerships, including a developing relationship with the
international Future of Places Forum (with partners from UN-Habitat,
Project for Public Spaces and Ax:son Johnson Foundation), and the first
steps of a collaboration with the UN's Habitat III conference in
2016. We also continued development of our other key
initiatives including new peer-to-peer planning tools and approaches
based on wiki and pattern languages, including a wiki-based community
planning tool called WikiPLACE. (Board member Ward
Cunningham, the inventor of wiki, is leading the underlying software
work, which is developing a fascinating and potentially very important
new generation of "federated" wiki.)
We also continued to develop our collaborative relationship with the
International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and
Urbanism (a London-based NGO for sustainable development and
regeneration, whose patron is HRH the Prince of Wales). This year
Michael Mehaffy, our Executive Director, was elected Chair of the
international body (in addition to serving on the USA chapter
board). He will travel to London in 2016 and address the INTBAU
World Congress, followed by a reception and discussion with HRH the
Prince of Wales. Sustasis is the host 501(C)(3) for the US
chapter of INTBAU.
In January we launched the Sustasis
Collaborative, a membership association hosted by Sustasis which will
allow more active collaboration among members and
associates. The collaborative will support topical discussions,
sharing of publications, exploration of current projects, and
development of potential joint projects. We have opened accounts in
Google Plus, Google Docs and Google Hangout which we will use as our
main collaborative platforms. We also launched a YouTube channel
with webinar videos. Anyone is free to join by sending an email (to
Michael Mehaffy, see email info on the main page) with contact
details. We will then give instructions for joining.
We continued our peer-reviewed research and development work as well,
notably on greenhouse gas emissions, urban form, pattern languages, and
new urban design decision support tools (including WikiPLACE). We
continued our research collaborations and exploraitons with
international colleagues, including our hosting work for the research
coordination network, the Environmental Structure Research Group
(ESRG), which was formed in 2006 and has member colleagues in Europe,
Asia, North and South America.
Lastly, we have continued our facilitation work in the development of
new educational programs. Earlier this year we helped to set up an
e-learning website for INTBAU, which consisted of a five-part modular
short course on sustainable regeneration and building. This
curriculum was part of our previous work for the European School of
Urbanism and Architecture, a pilot program of the Leonardo da Vinci
Programme of the EU, with six university partners. Most recently
we have been working with ESRG colleagues in Trento, Italy on a new
international school of design; we hope to have more to announce on
that initiative soon!
• Launched Webinar series, beginning
with, “Federated Wiki: Potential for a new generation of open-source
planning tools.” Available on our YouTube channel.
Additional webinars will be on pattern languages and their use.
• Launched learning resources, beginning with The ESUA Modules, five
modular e-learning courses in sustainable urban development, with our
London partner the International Network for Traditional Building,
Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU). We also included a new page
with links to classic films on the work of Jane Jacobs, Christopher
Alexander, William H. Whyte and others.
• Continued development of Federated Wiki, and specific Fed Wiki
resources – notably WikiPLACE, a pattern language based wiki community
Speaking and Other Collaborations for Conferences, Symposia and Meetings
(By Executive Director Michael
Mehaffy, unless otherwise noted)
• “Can we identify a
new 'grand unified theory' of spatial networks?” public lecture,
invited by Government of Quito, Ecuador, January 2014
• “Networks, Self-Organization, Resilience, Agile: The New Agenda for
Architecture and Urban Design.” Lecture, Universidad De Las Americas,
Quito, Ecuador, January 2014
• “Sustainable Cities in a Critical Age,” keynote presentation at
annual INTBAU conference in Krakow, Poland (assisted with planning as
ICC board member, participated and presented)
• “Place Networks: Toward a consilience of urban spatial
theories”. International Speaker Series, Technical University of
Vienna, April 2014.
• “The new urgency of 'thinking globally, acting locally.”
Presentation and session moderation, Congress for the New Urbanism,
• “Place Networks”: The Structure of Healthy Streets and Sidewalks,"
International Making Cities Livable conference, Portland OR, June 2014.
(Presented, served on conference board)
• “The Future of Places II,” with UN-Habitat, Project for Public
Spaces, Ax:son Johnson Foundation, September 2014. (Assisted with
planning, concept outline of final document; Michael Mehaffy served as
Chair of the Academic Committee and presented final “wrap-up”),
• “Cities are the problem, but cities are the answer too: What we can
still learn from Jane Jacobs (and a few others)”, lecture, at
conference, “Five Crucial Decades,” University of British Columbia,
School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, November 2014.
• “Acting Locally, Understanding Globally,” Session moderator and
presenter, Santa Fe Institute seminar on planning for self-organization
in cities, November 2014.
• Yachay City of Knowledge, Quito,
Ecuador (urban planning consultation for new city of 250,000), January
• City of Niagara Falls, New York (consultation on urban revitalization
along Niagara River), June 2014
• The Logan School, Denver, Colorado (consultation on pattern language
development for school), June 2014
• United Nations, Secretary-General for Habitat III, led “Open
Consultation” delegation from Future of Places Forum, September 2014,
for planning of Habitat III.
• “Lessons from an emerging science of cities,” Cityminded (consortium
of Cisco, Siemens, IBM, et al.), April 2014
• “The new urgency of 'thinking globally, acting locally,” Better
Cities and Towns (USA planners' blog), May 2014.
• “What can a 'science of cities' offer planners?” Planetizen
(USA planners' blog), June 2014.
• “Five Key Themes Emerging From the 'New Science of Cities'”,
City Lab (The Atlantic), September 2014.
• “New Urbanism and Sustainable Urban Form,” Chapter 3 in book project
Sustainable Urban Form by Kazimee, Bashir (Ed.), Cognella, 2014.
• Book, Design for a Living Planet, Michael Mehaffy and Nikos
Salingaros (now in press, launch early 2015).
• “Unpacking Density: Exploiting urban
design variables in carbon reduction strategies,” Norwegian Journal of Architectural
• “Counting Urban Carbon: Effective Modelling of Resource-Efficient
Urban Design Decisions Under Uncertain Conditions” International Journal of Architectural
• “The Neighborhood Unit On Trial: A case study of the impacts of urban
morphology,” Journal of Urbanism.
As always, we welcome suggestions about our work and the
ways that we
might develop more effective collaborations. And as always, we are very
grateful for any and all collaborations, and any other support, that
make our further work on these urgent topics possible!