Mariela A. Alfonzo, Ph.D.

Bridging the worlds of academia and practice, Dr. Alfonzo is the president of Urban Imprint, the Founder of State of Place, and an Assistant Research Professor at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. Dr. Alfonzo has managed Urban Imprint, her urban design and behavior research and consulting company, for over eight years, and most recently launched State of Place, a place rating and walkability diagnostic tool tied to economic development. An expert on the triple bottom line of urban design, Dr. Alfonzo examines the relationship between the built environment and behavior, focusing on walkability, social interaction, sense of community, consumption behavior, and sustainability within the context of retail, mixed-use, and neighborhood revitalization.

Through Urban Imprint, Dr. Alfonzo has been demystifying how interactions between the built environment and human activity impact economic, social and ecological value. Working with planning and real estate industry professionals, Urban Imprint then leverages that know-how to develop evidence-based sustainable planning, design, and development solutions. State of Place, as the marquee offering of Urban Imprint, integrates this empirical approach into an easy – yet comprehensive – decision-making tool for planners, developers, investors, and other key real estate industry stakeholders aiming to increase place quality, economic development and community engagement!

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 has presented her work at a variety of professional and academic conferences and workshops, including the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), and the International Downtown Association. Her articles have appeared in Urban Land, Planning, the Journal of Urban Design, the Journal of the American Planning Association, and others. She has produced reports for the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the California State Legislature, and the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Additionally, 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.

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Michelle Woodhouse

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).