Overview of 2017 Activities
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ABOVE:  2017 saw publication of eBook versions of Design for a Living Planet and A City is Not A Tree, and also the print and eBook launch of a new title, Cities Alive: Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander and the Roots of the New Urban Renaissance.

By Michael Mehaffy, Executive Director

This year marked the first year of implementation of the historic New Urban Agenda, the outcome document of the Habitat III conference last year, which was adopted by consensus by all 193 member countries of the United Nations. This is a major milestone in the history of urban development -- at a time of rapid urbanizaiton and many challenges -- but it highlights the urgency of implementation as the next step. Sustasis Foundation and our partners have played a notable role in consulting, researching and advocating throughout this process, and we will continue to do so as we continue the important partnerships with Ax:son Johnson Foundation, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and UN-Habitat, as well as other key partners.

To that end, this year we have accelerated our work to publish scholarship and educational material on these and other related global challenges, and the insights that are available to us from the sciences and from leading scholars.  We have a particular focus on the work of Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander, for example in our new book,
Cities Alive: Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander and the Roots of the New Urban Renaissance, co-published by Sustasis Press and our partner, the Centre for the Future of Places at KTH University in Stockholm (where Michael Mehaffy is also Senior Researcher, and Director of the Future of Places Research Network). 

The reviews of the new book to date have been very positive.  Rob Steuteville, writing in the journal Public Square, called the book “an important analysis for urbanism – now and in the coming decades.”  Fred Kent of the Project for Public Spaces (another partner and ongoing collaborator) said, “I can’t think of anyone better than Michael Mehaffy to write this important book.”

We also issued eBook versions of our earlier books Design for a Living Planet and A City is Not a Tree: 50th Anniversary Edition.  We have several additional books in development.

This important ongoing partnership allows Sustasis and its Environmental Structure Research Group (ESRG) network to have a new, stronger foundation for collaboration on key issues of urbanization and sustainable development, including the ongoing partnerships with UN-Habitat and other key allies. To that end, we recently participated in negotiations to complete a new
Memorandum of Understanding between our partner the Centre for the Future of Places and UN-Habitat.  As part of a related MOU, we partnered with HealthBridge to begin a project for public space development in Da Nang, Vietnam, which is experiencing rapid urbanization.  This is an important pilot project for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, and an important dimension of our current work "on the ground".  In the New Year we will also be workign to develop similar partnerships and involvements in Africa and other parts of the developing world.

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LEFT:  Newspaper article from Da Nang, Vietnam on our work to develop new public spaces as part of the implementation of the UN’s “New Urban Agenda.  The article reads, in part: “DA NANG NEEDS TO FOCUS ON DEVELOPING PUBLIC SPACES. On the afternoon of 15-8, Vice Chairman of Danang People's Committee Nguyen Ngoc Tuan received the HealthBridge Canada mission led by Michael Mehaffy…”  RIGHT:  Michael Mehaffy meets with a delegation from Wuhan, China, and with Cecilia Andersson of UN-Habitat, at a conference in Amsterdam NL.  She holds a copy of the new book by Sustasis Press, Cities Alive (see below).

Keynote Speaking and/or Co-organization of Conferences, Symposia and Meetings
(By Executive Director Michael Mehaffy, unless otherwise noted)

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LEFT: a social media post by Joe Yoder, conference co-organizer for the Pattern Languages of Programming conference,  giving very positive feedback on our talk at PLoP in Vancouver, B.C.  RIGHT: the Livable Portland blog, examining timely and sometimes controversial issues in our home city of Portland, Oregon.

Research Publications

General Publications