Nicholas Zaferatos



Nicholas Zaferatos, Ph.D., AICP, is a professor of urban planning and sustainable development at the College of the Environment, WWU. He served as the program director for the Urban Planning and Sustainable Development program, co-directs the minor in Sustainable Design, and directs WWU's faculty-led global learning program in Mediterranean Sustainable Development in Greece. His teaching emphasis in urban planning, sustainable development, Native American planning, and environmental and urban policy complements his regional and international teaching and research interests. He is active in promoting sustainability education at Western Washington University, serving appointments on university committees, academies, and initiatives. Since 2005, Dr. Zaferatos has directed several service-learning programs in sustainable development in Washington State and internationally.

His applied sustainability studies in Greece has received national and international recognition, including the 2017 Outstanding Student Planning Award (American Planning Association / Planning Association of Washington); the 2009 Green Good Design Award (The European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies); the 2010 Hellenic Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Honor Award for contributions to Greek sustainable development (Thessaloniki, Greece), the 2008 SETE National Sustainability Honor Award (Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, Athens); and the 2006 6th Honorific Mediterranean Sustainability Award (Centre D'Iniciatives Ecologiques, Tarragona, Spain). In Washington State, he is the recipient of the 2019 Myer R. Wolfe Award for Professional Achievement to the Advancement of the Planning Profession (American Planning Association, WA Chapter), the 2011 Sustainability Award: Creating Sustainability Partnerships (Western Washington University and Office of Sustainability), the 2004 Builder of Bellingham Award (Community Service Distinction, WWU), and the 2000 National High Honor Award (Harvard University’s Tribal Governance Program: Honoring Nations). His most recent research and publication "Washington Indian Tribes and the Growth Management Act" led to legislative amendments to the Act that provides for direct tribal participation in regional planning based on a government-to-government relationship.

His professional practice in planning spans over 40 years and includes positions as director of planning agencies, tribal government executive positions, consultancies, as well as civic appointment service on planning commissions, zoning and hearings boards, and gaming regulatory boards with local, regional and Native American governments. He served as planning director and general manager for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in the Pacific Northwest for two decades. He also serves as the CEO for an international not for profit organization promoting sustainability education in the Mediterranean region and sits on scientific boards for international nonprofit organizations.

Link to Urban Planning and Sustainable Program Website

Link to University Catalog - UPSD Program


Link to Sustainable Design Minor Program

Link to University Catalog - Sustainable Design Minor



PhD Urban Design & Planning, University of Washington; MS Urban & Regional and Environmental Planning, Western Washington University; BA Regional Geography, University of Buffalo, State University of New York


Recent publications

Nicholas C. Zaferatos. (2017). Planning the Native American Indian Reservation: from Theory to Empowerment. Syracuse University Press.

Nicholas C. Zaferatos. (2015). “Planning in Native American Reservation Communities: Sovereignty, Conflict and Political Pluralism” in Cities and the Politics of Difference: Multiculturalism and Diversity in Urban Planning. Michael A. Burayidi, (Editor). University of Toronto Press.


Nicholas C. Zaferatos (2022). "Tribal-Local Intergovernmental Agreements," in Tribal Administration Handbook, edited by Rebecca M. Webster and Joseph Bauerkemper. Michigan State University Press.


Recent Awards

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