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Michael Mehaffy


Michael Mehaffy is an American planner, urban designer, building designer, educator and author with an international practice. For over three decades, he has worked for governments, NGOs, businesses and individuals, designing and/or managing projects at almost all scales from large masterplanned communities to individual homes, gardens and furniture. Among his best-known projects is the award-winning Orenco Station neighborhood in Portland, where he served as project manager for the master developer, and personally designed or co-designed many elements.

Michael was unanimously endorsed as a member of the INTBAU College of Traditional Practitioners, and was one of the first to receive CNU-A accreditation from the Congress for the New Urbanism. He was a recipient of the Clem Labine Award for “championing the art and science of beautiful places,” the Steve Lowenstein Leadership Award, the Sir David Anderson Fellowship Award, and others. He holds a Ph.D. in architecture from the highly regarded Delft University of Technology (ranked #3 in architecture programs by QS World University Rankings).

Also a noted educator, having held seven graduate teaching and/or research positions in six countries, Michael was the first Director of Education for the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment in London, and was project manager of the European School of Urbanism and Architecture. He teaches well-regarded courses on traditional architecture, sustainable urbanism, the works of Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander (with whom he worked closely), New Urbanism, pattern languages, wiki planning tools, and other related topics.

Michael is also noted as an author or contributing author of over twenty books, including Design for a Living Planet (with Nikos Salingaros) and Cities Alive: Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, and the Roots of the New Urban Renaissance. He has also published articles in many peer-reviewed journals as well as professional publications, and is a frequent interviewee in media and publications as diverse as Voice of America, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Newsweek, and many others. In addition he serves on the editorial boards of two international journals of urban design.

Michael’s other NGO work is extensive, having served as chair of the INTBAU College of Chapters, co-organizer and chair of the USA chapter of INTBAU, board member of the Council for European Urbanism, and president of the Goose Hollow Foothills League, among others. He currently serves as managing director of Portland-based Sustasis Foundation, a small urban research think tank and publication press (publishing books by Christopher Alexander, Nikos Salingaros and others).

Currently Michael also holds an appointment at the Centre for the Future of Places, KH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, funded by the Ax:son Johnson Foundation, with whom he is also associated. In this capacity, he is working in close partnership with UN-Habitat on issues of more human-centered architecture and urbanism, heritage regeneration, public space, and related issues, as part of the New Urban Agenda framework that has been adopted by all 193 member countries.

In addition, Michael continues his work on projects in the USA and internationally through his Portland-based consultancy, Structura Naturalis Inc., incorporated in 1993.



Further information

Michael Mehaffy
Tel. +1 (503) 250-4449