Overview of 2014 Activities
By Michael Mehaffy, Executive Director

A busy year for the Executive Director!This 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.

Michael Mehaffy demonstrates the new community toolIn 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 also 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!

New Resources

• 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.  http://www.sustasis.net/fedwiki/

• 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.  http://www.sustasis.net/Learning_Modules.html

• Continued development of Federated Wiki, and specific Fed Wiki resources – notably WikiPLACE, a pattern language based wiki community planning tool.   http://www.palgrave-journals.com/udi/journal/v18/n4/abs/udi20139a.html

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, June 2014.

• “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”), September 2014.  

• “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.

Planning Consultations

• Yachay City of Knowledge, Quito, Ecuador (urban planning consultation for new city of 250,000), January 2014

• 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.

General Publications

• “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).

Academic Publications

• “Unpacking Density: Exploiting urban design variables in carbon reduction strategies,” Norwegian Journal of Architectural Research.

• “Counting Urban Carbon: Effective Modelling of Resource-Efficient Urban Design Decisions Under Uncertain Conditions”  International Journal of Architectural Research.

• “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!