Mariela A. Alfonzo, Ph.D., Founder

Bridging the worlds of academia and practice, Dr. Alfonzo is the Founder of State of Place, an urban data analytics platform that helps placemakers identify and economically justify optimal urban design, planning, and development projects that create thriving places people love; the president of Urban Imprint, an urban design-behavior research and consulting firm; and a Research Assistant Professor at New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering, where she’s been examining the links between the built environment and health in rapidly urbanizing Chinese cities for nearly four years. An expert on the triple bottom line of urban design, Dr. Alfonzo focuses on how the relationship between the built environment and behavior impacts health, broadly defined to include physical, mental, social, community, environmental, and fiscal health, within the context of neighborhood revitalization. In the Fall of 2014, she was recognized as one of Urban Land Institute’s 40 under 40 best young land use professionals around the globe. Additionally, Dr. Alfonzo was awarded a Fulbright to examine walkability in China in the Fall of 2013, where she focused on the socio-cultural and policy challenges to implementing walkable development.

Through Urban Imprint, Dr. Alfonzo has been demystifying how interactions between the built environment and human activity impact economic, social and ecological value for a decade. Working with planning and real estate industry professionals, Urban Imprint leverages that know-how to develop evidence-based sustainable planning, design, and development solutions. In 2011, State of Place began as a marquee offering of Urban Imprint, as a way to integrate Urban Imprint’s empirical approach and methodology into an easy to use, yet comprehensive design, planning, and economic development decision-making and scenario analysis tool that serves to enhance the triple bottom line. State of Place is now a sister, startup company to Urban Imprint.

For over 15 years, Dr. Alfonzo has worked with a range of private, public, NGO and non-profit sector real estate, placemaking, and public policy stakeholders.She has extensive speaking experience, having given presentations in both academic and practice settings including ULI, HUD, APA, Active Living Research, the Lean Startup Conference, Environmental Design Research Association, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, New York Academy of Sciences, and others. Additionally, she has published a wide range of professional and peer-reviewed articles and book chapters ranging from Urban Land and Planning magazine, to Brookings, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Environment & Behavior, and the Journal of the American Planning Association. Further, Dr. Alfonzo has taught several Urban Design courses at NYU-Poly, Virginia Tech, and UCI. She served as the Chair of University Outreach for the Young Leaders Group of ULI Orange County for two years and has participated in several ULI Technical Advisory Panels. Dr. Alfonzo has a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning with an emphasis on Urban Design and Behavior, as well as a professional Masters in Urban Planning, from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Psychology from the University of Miami. She can be reached at

Download Dr. Alfonzo’s CV


Michelle Woodhouse, Strategic Operations Director

Michelle Drousé Woodhouse is the Strategic Operations Director for State of Place and has over 14 years of experience working across non-profit, public and private sectors in a variety of leadership roles in the United States and United Kingdom. She has served in the following roles: business development consultant, project monitoring consultant, non-profit manager, city planner, urban designer, redevelopment project manager, PMO manager, change manager, design manager, delivery consultant, startup consultant, and social enterprise owner. Key former employers and clients include: City of Irvine, Forma Design, Design Council UK, and Technology Strategy Board/Innovate UK. She also has extensive experience serving on the Board of Directors and as an Advisor for non-profit organizations such as Bridge to Turkey Fund, Pi Beta Phi Women’s Fraternity, Orange County Turkish American Association, Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California, and Orange County Association of Environmental Professionals. Ms. Woodhouse has been with State of Place since 2013 and has been directing strategy, operations, and business development. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis and Design as well as a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She can be reached at


James Croke, Business Development Strategist

James Croke is the Business Development Strategist. His role at State of Place is to develop the business development strategy and support customer development efforts. Prior to joining State of Place, James worked as a Development Adviser with the High Potential Start-Up Unit in Enterprise Ireland, the start-up and export/trade development arm of the Irish Government. He directly managed a portfolio of over 60 clients in the cleantech and electronic sectors. James has experience in working with diverse start-up spectrum from entrepreneurs at the idea stage to firms that had secured several million in venture capital funding. James graduated from Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and Irish Management Institute. He can be reached at


Katharina Davis, External Relations Strategist

Katharina Davis, External Relations Strategist

Katharina Davis is the External Relations Strategist at State of Place. Bringing more than 10 years of experience working at international organizations, the private sector and the academia, Katia’s is now helping State of Place enhance its visibility and growth. Her responsibilities include scoping external partners and funding opportunities, promoting SoP participation at critical events, and overseeing communications and content development. Before joining the team, Katia worked at the United Nations Development Program – Global Environment Facility, managing various research, knowledge management and communications projects. Her other gigs include UNICEF, the Global Fund, Saatchi & Saatchi, and a couple of finance and economic consulting companies. Katia holds a master’s degree in Public Administration & Nonprofit Studies with a focus on Urban Planning from New York University and a Master’s in International Studies from the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. She can be reached at

Anna Maikova, Content Development Intern

Anna Maikova, Content Development Intern

Anna Maikova is the Content Development Intern. At State of Place she is responsible for research and development of the website’s content, a newsletter and social media engagement, and production of video and graphic materials for events and meetings with clients. She also contributes to business development and funding opportunities. Anna is pursuing a master’s degree in Strategic Communication at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She worked in South Korea and completed a research program at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Russia before coming to the US as a Fulbright scholar. Her research interests are place branding, big data and communications in urbanism. She can be reached at


Semrin Aleckson, Research and Content

Semrin Aleckson, Research and Content


Semrin Aleckson is the Research and Content Intern at State of Place. Currently, she has been applying the State of Place analytics tool to research walkability in two neighborhoods in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition, Semrin analyzes the collected data for her master’s dissertation at the London School of Economics and Political Science. By the end of 2015, Semrin is planning to obtain her Master of Science in Environment and Development and continue working on walkability issues in urban development. Prior to joining State of Place, Semrin interned at Global Strategies and U.S. Congress and graduated from George Mason University with major in Global Affairs and a concentration in the Environment. She can be reached at


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Nasha Virata, Customer Development Intern


Nasha Virata is the Customer Development Intern that brings her past experience in the b2b software and data analytics to her current role at State of Place. She is a graduate of Stanford University and a former financial analyst at Morgan Stanley. Having spent time in the Philippines, England and California, Nasha is based firmly in New York City and always happy to meet and talk about State of Place and all things New York City. Nasha is a Municipal Art Society Docent, who gives guided tours of Grand Central Terminal. She can be reached at




Kevin Barrow, Research and Content Intern

Kevin Barrow is the Research and Content Intern at State of Place. He is on track to earn a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Urban Environments from New York University. While working with State of Place, Kevin has gathered extensive data on neighborhoods around New York City and supported developing the product. He uses this data to contribute to State of Place’s social media profiles showcasing placemaking aspects of each neighborhood. Kevin participates in many student organizations, including American Society of Civil Engineers and American Association for Blacks in Energy at NYU. He can be reached at