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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.

If you are working to make cities more healthy, sustainable and livable, you need these resources. The eReports contain leading-edge talks and presentations by world-renowned keynote speakers and experts.

Simon Conibear, Development Manager for the Duchy of Cornwall, will give a keynote talk about Poundbury at the 52nd IMCL Conference, and lead a walking tour of this model new urban village.

Kevin McCloud, MBE, British designer, writer and television presenter best known for his series Grand Designs, will be a keynote speaker at the 52nd IMCL Conference in Bristol, June 29-July 3.   Kevin’s highly sustainable, affordable residential housing development company HAB Housing, completed their first 42-home project in Swindon in 2011, and is now developing custom build housing scheme in new town developments across England’s south-west counties.

In 2016 the City of Ljubljana, Slovenia will be celebrating their year with the title of European Green Capital. We are delighted to announce that Tjaša Ficko, Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana will talk at the Bristol Conference about her city's initiatives that won it this title.

Walk Bristol’s public spaces and harbourside; take the “Green Cycle Tour”; join the boat tour to see Bristol’s new Enterprise Zone; join the group for a guided tour of Poundbury; or enjoy Bath’s Georgian architecture and afternoon tea at the Pump Room. If you are a registered conference participant at the 52nd IMCL Conference you can now reserve your place on the tours of your choice. These are professional guided tours that augment the theme of the conference. Please see more details on the website.

Size
It is important to decide on the size of the square in relation to two interdependent factors: 1) the social functions and population for which the square is designed; and 2) the height of surrounding buildings.

At the crossing of pedestrian ways
A neighborhood square must be located at the central crossing point of a network of interconnected pedestrian routes through the neighborhood. As local residents walk through the square on their way to work, school, shopping, running errands, or to catch transit to the city center, their paths cross, affording the chance for a greeting or extended conversation. When people pass each other on a regular basis in the same place, the “stranger” becomes a “familiar”, and gradually the “familiar” may become a friend, or member of one’s circle.

Alain de Botton, philosopher and author of many wise and entertaining books including “The Architecture of Happiness”, has now produced a video on “What Makes Cities Attractive”. He calls on us all to express our opinions, and to make our city leaders accountable to the citizens, not just to the developers.

For too long, the economic GDP model has governed how we shape our cities, proposes Suzanne Lennard, and this has resulted in sprawl that is unhealthy for humans, and unsustainable for the planet. Today, the idea that the primary function of the city is to be an “economic engine” is driving cities worldwide to construct “vertical sprawl”, which is proving to be equally unhealthy and unsustainable. Suzanne calls for “Quality of Life” principles to guide the way we shape our cities. These are the principles of True Urbanism, that facilitate community social life, access to nature, and independent mobility, and that result in a hospitable, healthy and sustainable built environment.

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