Overview of 2011 Activities
“Sustasis” is an ancient Greek word that means “a coming into collaboration” or “coming into integrality.”  We are a small, catalytic NGO that works to facilitate collaborations between others on urgent challenges of our time, with a focus on the quality and sustainability of the built environment.  We were formed in 2007 to facilitate neighborhood-led recovery planning work in New Orleans.  That work inspired our understanding that more comprehensive “bottom-up” strategies are needed to achieve more resilient, more sustainable cities, towns and countrysides.  Since then we have been partnering with other NGOs and NGO networks, including A World Institute to Serve Humanity, a global umbrella “incubator” institute.

Our current focus is on how the built environment can affect the issue of climate change, and the related issues of pollution, resource depletion and ecological destruction – all of which are profound economic issues as well as issues of social and environmental health.  In particular, we have been focusing especially on the particular topic of urban form, and its role in affecting emissions of greenhouse gases.

We are also working to develop and evaluate new urban design tools, including tools that can help citizens, political leaders and professionals to take a more “bottom-up,” capacity-building approach to the generation of neighborhoods that are a better fit with human and ecological needs.  In this work we collaborate with colleagues at the University of Strathclyde, Delft University of Technology, University College London, Tec de Monterrey, and other leading institutions. 

Our work in 2011 continued collaborative projects developed in previous years, and extended in to several exciting new areas. 
We continue our initiative to lead the research coordination network called the “Environmental Structure Research Group.” (See e.g. www.aboutus.org/ESRG). (We formed this work as an outgrowth of our work with Christopher Alexander at the Center for Environmental Structure.)  We can report several exciting initiatives for this year, including a co-hosted symposium at Arizona State University with colleagues from the Santa Fe Institute on the ideas of Jane Jacobs on “organized complexity” and the dynamics of generated urban systems, and on lessons from urban scaling phenomena. 

We are also continuing several important initiatives to develop new applications of pattern language technology.  We conducted research in January with the Center for Aesthetics in Practice on “Project Pattern Languages,” early results of which were presented at the 2011 Congress for the New Urbanism.   This work will continue. We also conducted research with the Phoenix Urban Research Lab and ASU to further develop Project Pattern Languages and in particular, “Place Patterns,” a model related to the “Place Types” model used for some light rail transit-oriented developments.  We also continue to develop a “Generative Module” for the Smart Code developed by Duany Plater Zyberk and colleagues from the Center for Advanced Transect Studies. This module also employs patterns as model implementation agreements for transactional modificaitons to urban form (related ot our colleage Sergio Porta's work on “Plot-Based Urbanism” – see below.)

We continue to lead efforts of the USA chapter of INTBAU, a patronage of the Prince of Wales dedicated to heritage preservation, and new construction that preserves and builds upon traditional fabric and cultures. After our chapter launch in New Orleans, we did a second annual conference in Chicago, and a third one in Baltimore. Last year we did our fourth very successful conference in Chicago.  In 2011, we have also begun offering study tours for members, beginning with a study tour in Sicily, co-sponsored by INTBAU-Italy. If you are interested in this and upcoming trips, please contact us for more information!
We also look forward to important synergies with our project consultancies, and the ability to cross-pollinate important benefits. These include new technologies for sustainable buildings and urbanism, new financial instruments, and other new strategies and insights.
A summary of our completed and currently planned activities for the year:
Facilitated Collaborations

 Co-organized Symposia and Lectures
Essays, papers and book chapters

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 work on these urgent topics possible!