By Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

Working up to New Year’s resolutions, Walk Score has released their official 2014 ranking of Most Walkable Cities and Neighborhoods. Checking a neighborhood’s Walk Score has been a handy tool for transplants everywhere - ratings from 1 to 100 can give you a quick overview of a house or apartment’s proximity to grocery stores, green spaces, and even bike lanes, especially for those who get around primarily by foot or bicycle.

By Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

I’ll sing it until I’m blue in the face, but public space is one of the most crucial components of an urban environment. Not only is it a huge percentage of any city, but more importantly it’s public. And that includes the sidewalks, parks, plazas, and streets – all (or most) technically belonging to the people. While it’s true that you can’t just camp out in the middle of the highway (not that you’d want to), it’s only manufactured policies that now dictate our streets are for automobiles instead of people.

But what if it was different?


Sherford is a new market town to be built near Plymouth in Devon, England on principles of true urbanism. The traditional Wiltshire market town of Marlborough inspires the design, with its Georgian-style shop/houses lining the high street. Plans paint a picture of a lively community where all trips can be made on foot. On May 22, 2013 the government announced a £32m loan to kick-start construction. 

One thing many people notice when they come to Portland is that unlike many other large cities, there is a distinct lack of large public murals downtown. Public art brings vitality to the city, and thanks to Forest for the Trees NW, there's a lot more of it in Portland. Over the course of six days, twelve artists from around the world created massive works of art all over the city. Participating businesses hosted collaborations between artists from Tokyo and Australia, along with local artists to add vibrancy to the streets.

The 50th International Making Cities Livable Conference in Portland was full of engaging speakers and lively discussion. The photos from the conference are now online for you to peruse. We thank you again for contributing to the conversation! You can see the photos here.


Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City was presented with the 2013 IMCL Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award at the 50th IMCL Conference in Portland, OR, June 25, 2013. The Award was made in recognition of his “exemplary Livability Initiative, a program to make Salt Lake City one of the greenest, most inclusive and economically viable municipalities in the country.” The initiative improves conditions for walking, cycling and public transit, in conjunction with a focus on creating “vibrant, walkable neighborhoods, community hubs, and housing for a full range of incomes.”   

At the 50th International Making Cities Livable Conference (IMCL) in Portland, OR, June 23-27, 2013 Mayor James Brainard received the 2013 International Making Cities Livable Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award “for his inspirational leadership in creating a vibrant, multi-functional heart for Carmel, IN. The beauty, harmony and diversity of the compact urban fabric of City Center and the Arts District, squares, parks, theater and Palladium demonstrate a clear understanding of true urbanity and a vision of Carmel as a great city.”

Before mass tourism transforms Venice into a dead museum, we would do well to study the genius of the Venetian campo. Not only the Venetians, but the whole world needs the Venetian campo, and the social life it supports, to survive and flourish.

The term "sustainability" has become ubiquitous, and yet, the focus is almost always on the environment. The other dimensions of sustainability - social and economic - are glossed over or even ignored. IMCL holds that a socially sustainable neighborhood needs to promote equitably each individual's social, mental and physical well-being, and the community's cultural, and social well-being. To achieve a socially sustainable city requires equity across neighborhoods and ethnic groups, and improved social health for future generations. Thus, social sustainability has powerful implications for city planning and urban design.

By Jessica Engelmann

When I moved to Portland five years ago, I moved because I was looking to put down roots.  At the time, I lived in Washington DC, but I was contemplating a move to Chicago.  I had spent a decade hopping from city to city, and it was time to sit still, at least for a little while. 

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