The purpose of the Making Cities Livable movement is to enhance the well-being of inhabitants of cities and towns, strengthen community, improve social and physical health, and increase civic engagement by reshaping the built environment of our cities, suburbs and towns.
To achieve these goals requires, first and foremost, a well-functioning public realm - meetings, encounters, dialogue among people young and old with a diversity of backgrounds, acquaintances, friends and strangers - that exists in multi-functional public places, squares and marketplaces.
To be vibrant these public places must exist within a truly urban fabric, and for this reason the Making Cities Livable movement promotes True Urbanism, - the time-tested principles of appropriate human scale architecture, mixed use shop/houses, and a compact urban fabric of blocks, streets and squares. outdoor cafes and restaurants, farmers' markets and community festivals also enliven the public realm.
The principles of True Urbanism create a "city of short distances" where balanced transportation planning makes possible commuting via pedestrian networks, bicycle networks, traffic quietened streets and public transportation.
Regional planning for controlled growth, focused economic development and an integrated transportation system, is an essential element of True Urbanism.
True Urbanism respects each city's unique identity, its "DNA" and considers the city as a work of art. The city's identity is further expressed through its public art.
The principles of True Urbanism generate cities that are both ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE (by reducing energy consumption, emphasizing infill and reconstruction rather than greenfield development), and SOCIALLY SUSTAINABLE, by promoting the individual's social, mental and physical WELL-BEING and the community's cultural, economic and social well-being.
A measure of the city's livability is how good it is for children and youth. If a city lacks livability they are the first to suffer. A city built on True Urbanist principles provides the ideal environment for the physical, mental and social development of children and youth.
Among the IMCL Board Members are internationally known urban leaders such as Governor Sven von Ungern-Sternberg of Freiburg, Germany, Richard J. Jackson, MD, MPH, Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. of Charleston, Architect Ettore Maria Mazzola, Rome, Italy, Prof. Philip Stafford, Bloomington, IN, and Dean Edoardo Salzano of Venice, Italy.
By 2030 we hope to:
- Rebuild community by replacing sprawl with compact, human scale urban fabric
- Recognize and combat the negative impact of our built environment on physical, social and mental health
- Adopt planning and urban design decisions that will make our cities more livable for children and the elderly
- Emphasize ethical land use patterns to reduce extreme economic disparities
- Strengthen compact urban neighborhoods to maintain diversity of ethnic and cultural identity
- Build multifunctional town squares that, like the ancient Greek agora or medieval marketplace, are capable of regenerating civic engagement and democratic participation.
These issues (which now seem as daunting as traffic calming seemed twenty years ago) must be resolved in the next twenty years if we are to rediscover the principles of true urbanism, rebuild our cities so that they are ecologically sustainable, and regain communities that are socially sustainable.
Join us at the 2013 IMCL Conference to raise awareness of the goals that still lie ahead!