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Michael W Mehaffy, Ph.D.

Structura Naturalis Inc.


Michael offers strategic consulting for walkable mixed-use projects, with an international practice based in the Columbia Gorge near Portland, Oregon.  He consults on projects for private developers, NGOs and governments in the US and internationally.


Michael is also a noted researcher, author, speaker and educator in urban planning and architectural design. He has held teaching and/or research appointments at seven graduate institutions in six countries, and he is currently on the editorial boards of four international journals of urban design. He is also on the boards of four NGOs in sustainable development and livability, including the Portland-based Sustasis Foundation, where he is Executive Director.  He is also a regular author for noted research and professional publications including Urban Land, Metropolis, Bloomberg CityLab, and Planetizen, and he is a frequent interviewee by media outlets as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, Voice of America, Newsweek, and The Guardian.   He holds a Ph.D. in architecture from Delft University of Technology (NL), and he did graduate work in business, public affairs, philosophy of design, planning and architecture, at The University of California at Berkeley and The University of Texas at Austin.  

Reflecting his real-world expertise, Michael has also personally managed and/or co-designed projects up to $100 million, performed on-site construction management, owned a development and construction business, served as development executive for a major pension fund partnership, secured financing, structured deals, assembled and managed large teams, prepared and secured entitlements, conducted or assisted marketing, sales and leasing, designed and/or personally built over 20 houses up to $2 million, supervised up to 25 employees, and designed and built gardens, furniture, signage, and individual building details.



Michael and his colleagues build on the best qualities of successful, well-loved places - the "DNA of place" - and then they overcome barriers and other challenges to make well-adapted, well-loved, profitable new places.



Strategic Planning

Careful analysis and planning for the opportunities, threats, strengths and weaknesses of the project

Entitlements and Permitting

Careful negotiations between private and public entities to overcome barriers and build project success

Project Planning And Design


All the elements of a successful, market-facing project with strong placemaking quality and appeal

Construction Management

Careful team recruitment and collaborative planning and execution to assure the best quality at all scales

Public Involvement

Outreach to stakeholders to build support and find win-win approaches 

Neighborhood Governance

Coordinated development of neighborhood associations, business improvement districts, et al.



A few of our built projects...



Public Speaking 


 "I hope you will be pleased to know that your opening remarks were quoted frequently during the second day's sessions.  I believe your work is very important." 

    -   James Malanaphy, Co-Chair 
        Historic Resources Committee, American Institute of Architects 



“Thanks so much for your hard work on this, again - one of the very best stories we’ve published in my tenure. We’re honored to have shared it.

- James Brasuell,

Executive Editor, Planetizen



“All have found that you did a good/great job!”

           - Henco Bekkering,              Delft University of Technology, summarizing research reviewers





"I love your lectures. I was especially excited with the lecture involving algorithms. Somehow, something just clicked in my head, and my visions and understanding of Earth systems seemed to broaden. You provide great info in your lecture slides.”


- Former university student

Pattern Language Development


"The acclaimed 'Pattern Language' process engages people at an earlier and higher level... Michael, I have heard nothing but extremely positive comments from the public on your work so far.  Thank you.”

     -  Skip Novakovich, LTC, USA, (Ret), President, Port of Kennewick Commission

Urban Code Development 


“Thanks for everything you do to move our region from planning to implementation.”

- David Bragdon, former Metro Council President, Portland



Congratulations on [being named to the Planetizen 100 Most Influential Urbanists] list. It’s a well-earned recognition." 

                   -James Brasuell

                     Managing Editor


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