Michael Mehaffy

Urban Symmetry

The Surprisingly Important Role of Symmetry in Healthy Places

New research suggests there might be a "symmetry deficit disorder" in today's built environments, with significant impacts on health, well-being, and even sustainability.

March 8, 2021 - Michael Mehaffy

Paris Street

Is it Time to Revive the Pattern Language?

Software and other fields have made brilliant progress with the pattern language methodology, while built environment fields lag badly, mired in parochial debates over the massive book that invented the methodology.

April 21, 2020 - Michael Mehaffy

Hillsboro, Oregon

The Death and Life of Great American…Suburbs?

Long considered beneath serious attention by design and planning elites, suburban settlements in the United States are emerging as key arenas to address crucial environmental, economic, and social issues.

December 17, 2019 - Michael Mehaffy

Portland Statue

Et Tu, Portland?

Opinion: The Rose City joins the nationwide attack on neighborhood-scale public involvement—and throws its pioneering model of grassroots democracy under the bus.

July 23, 2019 - Michael Mehaffy


Portland Throwing its Pioneering Neighborhood System Under the Bus

A muddled agenda of inclusion seems to be a rationale to eviscerate one of the Oregon city's most lauded civic assets.

January 28, 2019 - Michael Mehaffy

China Sprawl Map

Five Key Takeaways from the 2018 World Urban Forum

Insight into the hard work of implementing the New Urban Agenda.

March 11, 2018 - Michael Mehaffy

Portland Weird

How Not to Solve a Housing Crisis

More trouble in River City, as Portland and Oregon struggle with rising housing costs and come up with a puzzling solution.

June 8, 2017 - Michael Mehaffy

Mehaffy Portland Image

Has Portland Lost its Way?

Oregon's poster child for livable planning is embroiled in new controversies over destructive growth, skyrocketing prices, and back-room cronyism.

May 25, 2016 - Michael Mehaffy


What We Didn't Learn From Katrina

Cities are immensely complex self-organizing systems, not mere top-down designs—but they do need top-down interventions in strategic places. Unfortunately, we still have inadequate models and tools.

August 28, 2015 - Michael Mehaffy

Control Room

Urban Big Data: Where is the Signal in the Noise?

Amid growing skepticism, an international gathering examines the useful benefits for an age of critical urban challenges.

June 3, 2015 - Michael Mehaffy

Science of Cities

What Can a 'Science of Cities' Offer Planners?

Research across a range of fields is beginning to offer useful new guidance for planning policy and practice—and pointing the way to more effective "bottom-up" strategies.

June 25, 2014 - Michael Mehaffy

The Power of Jane Jacobs' "Web Way of Thinking"

December 15, 2011 - Michael Mehaffy

How Landscape Architects Can Save the World

The excesses of the "landscape urbanism" aside, Michael Mehaffy believes landscape architects are well positioned to lead the way towards positive change in the urban landscape. Here's why.

April 18, 2011 - Michael Mehaffy

The Landscape Urbanism: Sprawl in a Pretty Green Dress?

The latest in a series of academic challenges to the New Urbanism turns out to be weak in all the areas that matter most, argues author Michael Mehaffy.

October 4, 2010 - Michael Mehaffy

The Urban Dimensions of Climate Change

In the battle against climate change, cities will be even more important than we think, says Michael Mehaffy, managing director of the Sustasis Foundation. Research presented in Copenhagen shows that Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMTs) are only part of the story, and should not be considered in isolation from other factors.

November 30, 2009 - Michael Mehaffy

Urban Myths

May 2, 2005 - Michael Mehaffy

Toward a Science -- and Art -- of Better Places

The challenge for architecture is to be more firmly rooted in the real patterns of human activity. Michael Mehaffy reports on the 'New Science, New Architecture' Conference in London.

October 11, 2004 - Michael Mehaffy

Making TODs Work: Lessons from Portland's Orenco Station

A project manager gives a real-world account of the successes and failures of one of the nation's most closely watched new transit-oriented communities, and its role in the regional growth management strategy.

June 17, 2003 - Michael Mehaffy

Top Books

An annual review of books related to planning.

Top Websites

The best of the Internet—since 2002.

Top Apps

Planning apps for a brave new world.

Top Schools

The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.