New research conducted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation on the built environments in Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, DC shows that “established neighborhoods with a mix of older, smaller buildings perform better than districts with larger, newer structures when tested against a range of economic, social, and environmental outcome measures.”

Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City and Keynote Speaker at this year's 51st IMCL Conference, recently posted this excellent interview with livable streets advocate Mark Gorton of Streetfilms.

Congratulations again to the City of Bristol, UK, for demonstrating to the world that a city can be a fun place to live, and a street can become a place for people, not only a channel for cars and buses! This unique event, together with other public events Bristol has organized, will increase Bristolians’ pride and love for their city.

We’re excited to hear John present ideas and designs from the fantastic, recently released book, Street Design, which he co-authored with Victor Dover. John, an architect and board member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, says that he designs buildings with a human scale that look like they were made by human hands.

We’re thrilled to have George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, England, as one of our Keynote Speakers at this year’s conference! George is a very interesting guy. Not only is he the first elected Mayor of Bristol (elected in 2012), but he is also an international champion of placemaking, sustainability, and cities for people. Oh, and, ever since he was an architecture student, he’s been pretty easy to recognize since he always wears red trousers!  

By Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

One day not long ago (by history’s standards), streets were populated by a friendlier form of transportation: the bicycle. Accompanied by horses, trolleys, and masses of pedestrians as well, the bicycle was the first form of personal transportation before automobiles were even prototypes. Bicycles helped women to become emancipated by providing them with independent mobility. Many don’t realize that in fact it was bicyclists who first demanded that roads should be smoothly asphalted in order to ease transportation as early as the late 1800’s. A few decades later, however, streets quickly became the realm of the car.

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.

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