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The 52nd IMCL Conference on Achieving Green, Healthy Cities that took place in Bristol in July 2015 was phenomenal! If you were unfortunately not able to attend, you can now watch videos of all the keynote speakers, review presentations and read papers from all presenters by purchasing access to the eConference.

On June 30th, IMCL Director Suzanne Crowhurst Lennard opened the 53rd IMCL Conference in Bristol, UK, with these words: “To achieve green, healthy cities we have to have an urban environment that ensures human sustainability, economic sustainability, and ecological sustainability. Human sustainability means a good social and physical health for all, old and young, rich and poor – in other words, health equity; and a special emphasis for us on the well-being of children because they must grow up healthy in order to carry this sustainability into the future.

“In ancient times… public squares, or plazas, were… of prime necessity, for they were theaters for the principal scenes of public life.”  Camillo Sitte[1].

“… there must be open spaces that provide a fitting stage for the drama of daily life.” August Heckscher[2].

2015 IMCL Design Awards  presented at the 52nd IMCL Conference in Bristol include the following: IMCL Honor Award for a Built Project, to the New Town of Cayala, Guatemala, Pedro Godoy & María Sánchez, Richard Economakis and Léon Krier. IMCL Honor Awards for Proposed Projects were awarded for the Urban Regeneration ZEN, Arch. Ettore Maria Mazzola; and Baltimore Urban Farmstead, Scott Truex, Sustainable Communities Institute.  For more Awards and Honorable Mentions, please click here

Opening the 52nd IMCL Conference in Bristol, was a short film by the distinguished former Dean and Professor of Urban Planning at Venice University who had welcomed delegates to the 1st IMCL Conference in Venice in 1985 on behalf of the City of Venice. He reminded participants of Henry Lennard’s important message, to understand how good urban public spaces like the Venetian campo generate community and create a high quality of social life for old and young, and he called on delegates to save Venice from the devastating impact of mass tourism that is destroying the life of this city.

Imagine a major intersection with no traffic lights, no traffic signals, no painted lines on the road, and no curbs. Now imagine that scenario with over 26,000 vehicles passing through a traditional village center with heavy pedestrian traffic bustling through. Believe it or not, this already exists and it’s called a “shared space” and it is located in the village of Poynton. Ben Hamilton-Baillie is the urban designer responsible for this phenomenon, and he will be a keynote speaker at this year’s 52nd International Making Cities Livable Conference on Achieving Green, Healthy Cities.

This year we are delighted to welcome Prathima Manohar as a keynote speaker at the 52nd International Making Cities Livable Conference on Achieving Green, Healthy Cities. Prathima will be speaking on The challenge to Build Livable Cities in India. She is the founder and editor in chief of the Urban Vision; working primarily out of Mumbai she struggles to develop strategies to overcome haphazard planning regulations while accommodating a rising urban population.

The entrance into a neighborhood square is designed to create the experience that you have arrived at the heart of the community, and that you need go no further. A vista into the square from an adjacent street should reveal the life on the square, the sunlight, bright umbrellas, children playing, a couple enjoying a glass of wine, etc. It should not reveal that there is any destination beyond the square.

By KJ Kresin

When I was growing up my family and I went to Peru every two years to spend a couple months with my mom’s family. Her father lived in Lima but was born in Arequipa, which meant we would stay there for a few weeks at a time. When we weren’t relaxing or exploring with our extended family, my mom would take charge and take us to some hidden gems around the town. One night, while staying in Arequipa a 6.3 earthquake struck the town at two in the morning. When the sun came up, my first thought was, “how do I get out of this earthquake ridden town?” My mom however, without hesitation took me to La Plaza de Armas in the middle of the city.

To be successful, a neighborhood square must be designed for people. It must feel like the community’s living room -  lively, safe, comfortable and hospitable. It must facilitate social interaction and foster a sense of community identity. To achieve these goals, enclosure, sunlight and shade, protection from inclement weather, and from noise, danger and pollution are essential factors.

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