53rd Conference

53rd International

Making Cities Livable Conference on


& Design Awards Competition on

Designing for Our Common Home

Pontificia Università Urbaniana,
Vatican City / Rome, Italy

June 13-17, 2016

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Organized by the IMCL Council

​Co-sponsors: Friends:
University of Notre Dame, School of Architecture International Society of Biourbanism
Universitá “La Sapienza” Urbanistica Tre
Universitá “RomaTre”  

Join us in Rome!

We must make our cities healthy, just and sustainable for all humans and for the earth. We must do this NOW. We can wait no longer.

We must adopt wiser strategies and practices– in planning, urban design, architecture, transportation planning – that lead to genuine social, environmental and economic sustainability, a healthy environment for humans and for the earth.

At this conference, we will share knowledge of the effects of the built environment on the health of humans and the earth; foster interdisciplinary collaboration on real sustainable and equitable practices; and define a universal charter for the improvement of the anthropized environment.

Around the world, we have invested in an urban development model that uses more non-renewable energy than almost any other human activity, and this is causing untold damage to our environment. Modern city-making is creating unsustainable social structures, and great social inequity.

Until now, we have too readily accepted the argument that first priority must be to grow the economy, and construction is the fastest way to do this. However, the longed for trickle-down effect does not happen and we are faced with ever greater inequity, and an ever more devastated ecosystem that is causing climate change.

If we do not change the way we plan and construct our cities, the social inequity we are fomenting is likely to cause a "precipitous collapse" of the global industrial civilization, according to a NASA-funded study, a collapse that cannot be avoided by improved technological efficiency. Even the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, warned that a failure to tackle inequality risked huge social unrest. 

The UN, as well as Pope Francis’s wise and visionary encyclical, Laudato Si', and the Islamic Climate Change Declaration  urge the world to take action NOW to combat climate change and social inequity.

This is IMCL’s challenge. Join us at the Rome Conference to change the way we shape our cities.

Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard, Ph.D.(Arch.)
Co-founder & Director
IMCL Conference

Why Rome?

We might ask ourselves: why the inhabitants of Planet Earth until now have not questioned how to plan cities and build houses in a more sustainable way? In Rome, ‘The Eternal City’, we will review how to make our cities truly sustainable, and socially equitable.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves, how did we go wrong in the last Century? We hold ever more frequent congresses around the world to address sustainable development! But sometimes those congresses focus on one specific point, forgetting the complex interaction among many disciplines that should be interlaced rather than separated.

2000 years ago, Vitruvius depicted the personality of the architect as a person who concentrates in him/herself the knowledge of many disciplines  ... a lesson that we have lost in “modernism”, the child of ideology and fashions, rather than of multi-disciplinary logic, leading our cities to the present unsustainable situation!

Today we need to open up our minds and to work hand in hand with professionals of many disciplines, especially those who study the side-effects of the work of architects and planners ... but more than anything else, we need to listen to the ordinary man, who is feeling lost in the over-built, polluted environment – even suffering from social diseases – where he/she is forced to live … even when that environment had been presented as the most modern and efficient!

The 53rd IMCL conference, whose title was inspired by the great Encyclical "Laudato sì'", aims to give a holistic approach ("interdisciplinary and inter-religious") to "caring for our common home", by creating a universal charter which will be produced by all the participants in the final workshop.  

It is a great honor for me, after 31 years since its creation, to have an IMCL Conference in Rome, in the year of the extraordinary Jubilee called by Pope Francis.

I'm looking forward to welcoming you in Rome!

Arch. Ettore Maria Mazzola
Visiting Associate Professor of Traditional Urbanism, Architecture and Building Techniques
The University of Notre Dame School of Architecture
Rome Global Gateway

Conference venue

The conference will take place at the prestigious Pontificia Università Urbaniana, located in Rome close to the Vatican. Plenary sessions will take place in the Aula Magna, and concurrent afternoon sessions in the same building.

The Urbaniana University is characterized by the multicultural background of its students and lecturers, its specialization in missionary sciences, and above all by its special focus on the cultures of peoples and the great religions of the world. 


Arriving in Rome

By air: There are direct flights to Rome from almost every country. Ryanair and Easyjet also offer low cost fares from across Europe.

Rome has two airports, Fiumicino (also called Leonardo da Vinci Airport), and the smaller Ciampino. International flights fly to Fiumicino. Ciampino handles domestic and charter flights.

From Fiumicino airport, the ultramodern train Leonardo Express takes 30 minutes into the main railway station, Termini, at the city center and runs every 30 minutes, costing 11 euros.

Taxis: Official taxis are white or yellow and must have a meter. From Fiumicino to any address in the city center there is a fixed price of 48 euros. If you arrive at Ciampino, the fixed price for taxis into the city center is 30 euros.

By train:  The main railway station in Rome is Roma Termini. There are daily direct services from major cities across Europe. Rome Metro lines (A and B) intersect at Termini metro station, and a major bus station is located at Piazza dei Cinquecento, the square in front of the station.


IMCL has arranged for special low rates at a number of beautiful, traditional Roman hotels. 2016 is a Jubilee Year for the Catholic Church, so there will be great competition for hotel accommodations. Rather than posting details here online of how to obtain IMCL rates, we will send hotel reservation forms to you as soon as we receive your conference registration. 

Grand Hotel del Gianicolo
Via delle Mura Gianicolensi, 107

This lovely small hotel is located on the Gianicolo Hill overlooking Rome, with a garden, terrace, swimming pool and La Corte degli Archi restaurant. Rooms are tasteful, and comfortable. The hotel is a short bus ride from the conference venue. Alternatively, a walk with spectacular views along the ridge of the hill will get you to the conference venue in 25 minutes. Reservations must be made with the IMCL reservation form, provided when you register.

Hotel Columbus
Via della Conciliazione, 33
Vatican City

This historic hotel is a 7-minute walk from the conference venue, and close to St. Peter’s Basilica. It is a handsome 15th Century palazzo with fine public rooms, comfortable classic-style guest rooms, a green courtyard, "La Veranda" restaurant, and bar. Reservations must be made with the IMCL reservation form, provided when you register.


Colonna Palace Hotel
Piazza di Montecitorio

We are recommending the Colonna Palace Hotel, one of the best 4 star hotels in Rome, located on a quiet Piazza, facing the Italian Parliament. It is an elegant, hospitable, comfortable hotel, and has a beautiful roof garden for breakfast or an evening drink.  The hotel is central to all the attractions of the historic center of Rome (piazzas, restaurants, palaces, museums, etc.). Walking to the Conference venue will take about 25 minutes.

Hotel Exe Della Torre Argentina
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 102

We are recommending this handsome classical hotel in the historical center of Rome. It is in an 18th Century palazzo and decorated in classical style, with a bar-café and a panoramic rooftop terrace open for guests. It is ideally located for seeing Rome, at the point where Ancient Rome and Baroque Rome converge, between Piazza Navona, Campo de’Fiori, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum. Walking to the Conference venue will take about 25 minutes.