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Humans are social beings. Contact with family, friends and social circles is not just pleasurable, it is essential. An individual’s very sense of self is shaped and maintained through social life. One of the most serious punishments we can inflict is solitary confinement, which can result in serious existential crisis, and deterioration of mental and physical health. And yet, inadvertently, we are still building too many urban and suburban environments that induce isolation and loneliness.

How do children and youth learn the behavior, the attitudes, the skills that transform them into competent, responsible adults capable of, and interested in participating in the life of their community? A neighborhood square offers them an unparalleled learning environment.

A neighborhood square builds trust and familiarity; this is self-evidently a place for dialogue and discussion, for meetings and greetings, for shared experiences and forming bonds.

To be in the presence of others is reassuring. Perceiving their presence by looking, hearing and touching enables each of us to feel more human, more alive. Being acknowledged with a glance, a smile, even from a stranger, is heartwarming. A neighborhood square is an invitation to all to enjoy the feeling of being part of the extended family, the community.

Every urban neighborhood of 7 – 10,000 souls needs a place that functions as the “heart” of the neighborhood -- a neighborhood square. IMCL believes that now, more than ever, our society needs to strengthen the social networks that a square, more than any other urban form or social organization, has the ability to generate. A well designed neighborhood square generates community, counteracts loneliness, fosters inclusion, socializes children, catalyzes democratic engagement and sparks joy.

Designing for Green, Healthy Cities

Deadline: January 20, 2014.

The 2015 IMCL Design Competition jury will consider all submissions that speak to creating a more livable city, but projects related to the topic Designing for Green, Healthy Cities are actively sought, and will be given particular consideration.

52nd IMCL Conference

on



ACHIEVING GREEN, HEALTHY CITIES

Bristol, United Kingdom

June 29 - July 3, 2015

 

Co-organizers:
Bristol City Council, The Academy of Urbanism,
University of the West of England, Bristol University

For more information about the Conference, please click here

Paper proposals for the 52nd IMCL Conference on Achieving Green, Healthy Cities are invited from elected officials, scholars and practitioners.

Those wishing to present papers should submit a 250 word abstract for consideration before December 20, 2014. Please submit online here.

For more information about the Conference, please click here.

In this video, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson talks about the reasons why his city is the European Green Capital for 2015: creativity, resiliency, and a high quality of life. He also discusses some of the economic challenges the city is facing and how he hopes to confront them.  He says “. . . I recognize the importance of creating a healthy, caring city for every citizen.

Dick Jackson launched the 51st IMCL Conference in June, in his terrific talk on Advancing Neighborhood Health Equity. “We have to remember that the built environment is social policy”, Jackson emphasized. “All too often in the past, we have increased inequity of health between the wealthy and the poor neighborhoods through our planning, and transportation policies. We must change our approach to planning and designing the built environment if we want to improve the health of all.”

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