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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.

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.

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

Festivity and celebration are essential to human life.  They are an organizing and unifying force in the social life of the neighborhood. At traditional community festivals on a neighborhood square, friends and strangers, old and young work, eat, talk, dance and sing with one another.  Divisiveness and conflict are set aside; age and social barriers are diminished.

We are delighted to hear that our friend and IMCL Board Member Dick Jackson is to be awarded the 2015 Henry Hope Reed Award for his work outside the field of architecture that has supported the traditional city. Please see Dick’s message below.

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

The multi-functional neighborhood square acts as a catalyst for participatory, representational government. Civic and political discussion among diverse users of the square involves the expression of far greater diversity of opinions than is heard within the private realm. The power of the community to organize and act as a body to protect the common good is immensely strengthened by the availability of a successful neighborhood square at its heart.

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

Neighborhood squares tend to promote ethical conduct, attitudes and relations. A place that belongs to the community as a whole cannot be made exclusionary. It must be welcoming and hospitable for all socio-economic, ethnic and age groups and designed to enhance their co-presence and mutual respect. Inequities of access and opportunity for use that prevail for most private indoor space are minimized on the square.

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

It has long been recognized that the quality and quantity of social interaction and sense of belonging strongly influence physical and mental health. By facilitating face-to-face interaction and membership in a community, the neighborhood square improves physical and mental health for people of all ages.

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