Conference Reviews

"I want to again thank you, the Council, and the conference team for an excellent 49th Conference. And, now, the “eConference” is truly the icing on the cake – I really did want to read the papers and view the slides of presenters I missed, and my wish has been granted!"

Rick Phillips RA, Assoc. VP & Director of Urban Design, HNTB Corporation

"I really did like the conference.   So much valuable information, great presenters, it has really sparked a conversation in Indiana."

Suellen Jackson-Boner, Executive Director, Governor's Council for People with Disabilities, Indianapolis

"The conference was very informative and well organized and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the speakers from all over the world.  The IMCL Council is doing a wonderful job of encouraging cities to plan more livable and healthy communities."

Don Paight, Executive Director, City of Fort Myers, FL

"... what a wonderful experience I had at the IMCL conference in Charleston last week  ... a truly invigorating event.  I was inspired by being able to connect with so many wonderful people from around the world who are all passionate about the creation of great places."

James Dougherty AICP CNU
Director of Design, Dover, Kohl & Partners

"The conference was good."

Jay Daniels, MPH
Healthy Communities Consultant
Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention, Columbia, SC

"... such an excellent conference. The diversity of the audience, the excellent presentations - and importantly, the passion of the movement - have influenced my thinking and next steps. I look forward to sharing conference papers with my colleagues here in Michigan..."

Candance Kokinakis, Ph.D.
Sr. Director of Safe Routes to School
Michigan Fitness Foundation, Lansing, Michigan

“A wonderful Conference. I truly believe this is the best Conference on cities.”

Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
City of Charleston

“The most important continuous conference dialogue on making the world's cities and towns more livable for all of their inhabitants.”

Dr. Sven von Ungern-Sternberg
Regierungspraesident (Governor), State of South Baden, Germany

"The International Making Cities Liveable Conference was excellent. I enjoyed all the presentations and the field trips. Your passion helps keep this work alive and we are all grateful."

Mildred E. Warner
Professor, Dept of City & Regional Planning
Cornell University

"I had a wonderful time WALKING all over Charleston and attending the many very insightful presentations... I hope that the knowledge gained at your conference will help us to redouble our efforts to plan and develop healthy and sustainable communities."

Thomas C. Jost, LEED AP, AICP
Sr. Urban Strategist
PB PlaceMaking Group

“Congratulations for your extraordinary and successful effort. The Conference holds a magnifying glass to the world’s best cities, revealing why, and how they work.”

Benjamin Thompson, FAIA
AIA Gold Medalist

“Love for our cities unites all of us in this unique, impressive conference, with participants from different countries, with different professional backgrounds, but with one purpose: making our cities more livable.”

Antonio Casellati
Former Mayor, City of Venice, Italy

“What an amazing conference!  One of the best professional events I have ever attended!!  Well-structured, extremely well-organized and super-high quality of both the presenters and materials presented. The Portland Conference was THE compelling reason for both my deciding to join IMCL Council as a paid member, and for planning to attend and present again in 2010 in Charleston. Great job and many thanks to the organizing comittee!”

Dr. Mirela Newman
Coordinator, Urban Studies Graduate Program
Southern Connecticut St. University

“The lively exchange of ideas and the opportunity to communicate with colleagues as well as civic decision makers made the sessions extremely successful. Your strategy to bring together Europeans and North Americans with similar interests had its finest hour! Your personal social skills, as always, provided – and even provoked – the warmth and depth of the exchanges. Thanks to you, both new and, I am sure, lasting friendships have been formed.”

Professor Derek Drummond
McDonald Professor of Architecture
Vice Principal, McGill University

“The Vienna Conference was a great success. Please accept my congratulations on one more wonderful accomplishment.”

Dean Michael Lykoudis
School of Architecture, University of Notre Dame

“I shall, for a long time to come, be referring to my notes from the Conference. What a wonderful and inspiring session. I learned so much and found the exchange of ideas so stimulating not only from the practical but theoretical approach as well. I’m only sorry I couldn’t be four people at once and attend all the concurrent sessions.”

Janet C. Moran
Councilwoman, City of Hammond, Indiana

“Mr. Fauntroy. Mr. Speaker, I would like to call to the attention of the Members of this body the work of the Center for Urban Well-Being. The Center held its 4th International Conference March 8-12, 1988, in Charleston, SC. The theme of the conference was “Making Cities Livable” and it was a forum for hundreds of speakers and participants from 37 states and 11 countries to present ideas as to how to achieve this goal. The conference was organized by Dr. Suzanne Crowhurst Lennard, who, along with her husband, Dr. Henry L. Lennard, have spearheaded the effort to improve both the physical and spiritual quality of urban life.

The Honorable Joseph P. Riley, Jr., mayor of Charleston, SC, and former president of the United States Conference of Mayors, summarized the purpose of the conference: ‘to collectively forge the tools to build cities worthy of their people, cities conducive to public happiness and for the common good…’ The mayor’s city was chosen as the site for the conference because of its success in restoring old buildings, providing attractive and livable public housing, and well-planned development – some of the characteristics of a livable city.

Among the topics discussed at the conference were: architecture and urban design, public art, and public housing. In one session, Wolf Von Eckardt stressed the goals of architecture and urban design: to reflect the history and meaning of the place, to provide a joyful setting for people, and to respect the context and feeling of the people.

I believe that an effort should be made across the country to make sure that our cities are attractive and conducive to the interaction of people by preserving open areas and market places, among other things. Bad zoning practices, over development, and ill-advised traffic planning should be avoided.

A number of issues and concerns for the urban environment have been highlighted in the Making Cities Livable Newsletter, the news organ of the Center for Urban Well-Being. Because of the critical nature and importance of some of these issues, several highly important articles from the newsletter are here offered in their entirety.

The Hon. Walter E. Fauntroy
District of Columbia in the House of Representatives
Wednesday, October 19, 1988

“It was an impressive gathering – impressive in its seriousness and dedication to reforming our cities…Your own clear and concise presentations pushed us beyond academic and professional flim-flam…Due to your efforts I’ve come away feeling more committed to my own work – and I’ve met some very unusual and creative individuals on the same path.”

Ron Walkey
School of Architecture
The University of British Columbia

“The conference was one of the most interesting and genuinely useful for information gathering that I’ve been to. The different backgrounds of the participants addressing the same issues…was the key. In a way, the group was rather like a small town with varied citizenry meeting in a “third place.”

Joe Anglin
Glatting Lopez Kercher Anglin
Orlando, Florida

A ‘Bubbling-Up’ of Ideas...

It was my great pleasure to attend this year’s International Conference on Making Cities Livable held in Charleston, South Carolina in March. Under the leadership and inspiration of doctors Suzanne and Henry Lennard, the Conference brought together today’s best thinking about urban design issues. It provided the opportunity to share knowledge and to work on problem situations drawing from current experiences and a shared legacy while in a culturally and professionally rich environment. Architects, community organizations such as SFB, city administrators, planners, urban designers, landscape architects, social scientists and developers committed to making cities livable attended. Participants came from places as close as our City and the U.S. Eastern seaboard, to as far away as Samarkand, Russia; Prague, Czech Republic; Germany; The Hague; New Guinea; Switzerland; Australia; Venice, Italy; Austria; United Kingdom; Canada; Belgium; and Hong Kong.

I was struck with wonder over the intensity of commitment demonstrated as representative after representative spoke of undertaking the most difficult task of all – that of accepting urban human material as it is and a city as it is and to work to refashion both into something better. They are not daunted by the realization that their reach will certainly exceed their grasp. Daniel Burnham instructs us to, ‘Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood.’ They believe in that.

Fundamentals established in the early days of the Movement regarding aesthetics, ideology, civic mindedness, the restorative and recreative influences of natural landscape on city-bound people were evidenced in each presentation and case study and served as a springboard to incite creative thinking and a ‘bubbling-up’ of ideas.

Have you ever taken time to look at what is happening in San Francisco with the eye of a child? Have you ever thought about San Francisco’s ‘third places’ and their importance as defined by Ray Oldenburg? Or, what makes a city good? Have you considered what relationship exists between social pathology and urban design? What criteria is important in selecting public art? How seating and water can be used in the most effective way in the central city? Have you ever thought about urban design considerations appropriate to a community’s ethnic roots as special as an Islamic context or other cross-cultural perspectives? These international forums provide the yeast causing one to do just that and inspiration to apply ideas to one’s own hometown.”

M. Elizabeth Martin
Director of San Francisco Beautiful

“I want to take this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoyed the Charleston conference. The various speakers presented most stimulating and challenging ideas which have resulted in my taking a fresh look at my own community. I know of no other conference which provides the international expertise that you succeeded in bringing together in Charleston.”

Sylvia Sutherland
Mayor, City of Peterborough, Ontario

“In vielen Städten sind Stadtplaner fast auschließlich damit beschäftigt, die (Bau-)Sünden der Vergangenheit zu tilgen. Neue Stadtteile sind kaum planbar, da die baulichen Gegebenheiten den Architekten und Kommunalpolitikern. Grenzen auferlegen. Diese Grenzen zu sprengen hat sich der IMCL-Council, eine 1982 gegründete Vereinigung von Architekten, Stadtplanern, Wissenschaftlern aller Fachrichtungen, Künstlern und Kommunalpolitikern vorgenommen. Auf ihrer erstmals in Deutschland stattfindenden Tagung stand die Entwicklung neuer Stadtteile im Mittelpunkt der Diskussionen. Fazit: Nur die Einbeziehung der Menschen in Planung und Durchführung führt zu Ergebnissen, in denen sich die Bürger wohlfühlen.

Organisiert wurde die 17. Internationale Konferenz von der Stadt Freiburg und dem IMCL-Council (International Making Cities Livable), das seit 1985 Konferenzen zum Thema "Lebenswerte Stadt…" durchführt. Abwechselnd finden zweimal jährlich Tagungen in Europa und Amerika statt und befassen sich mit dem weitgefaßten Themenfeld einer "Lebenswerten Stadt…. " Freiburg war die erste deutsche Stadt, in der sich die Wissenschaftler und Fachleute aus über zwanzig Nationen trafen. Den Wert dieser ungewöhnlichen Konferenz umriß Freiburgs Erster Bürgermeister Sven von Ungern-Sternberg: ‘Der Wert liegt in der Konferenz selbst. Im Austausch bereichsübergreifender Erfahrungen, um die in vielen Metropolen gemachten Bausünden und Fehlplanungen früherer Jahre in der Stadt von morgen nicht mehr zu wiederholen.’ Freiburgs Oberbürgermeister Rolf Böhme sah in der Verbindung unterschiedlicher Standpunkte und Sichtweisen einer Chance, ‘die Bemühungen um die Qualität unserer Städte und damit das unmittelbare Lebensumfeld unserer Bürger zu intensivieren.’ Doch was zeichnet eine lebenswerte Stadt aus? Der Mitbegründer des IMCL-Council, der amerikanische Professor Henry Lennard, umriß zu Beginn der viertägigen Vortrags- und Diskussionsreihe sieben Eckpunkte, die für ihn zu einer lebenswerten Stadt gehören. Die lebenswerte Stadt besitze keine Gettos, sie sei offen gegenüber der Welt, biete eine Vielfalt unterschiedlichster Funktionen an, nehme Rücksicht auf historisch und sozial gewachsene Strukturen, biete Plätze und Orte für soziale Kontakte, sei nicht nur Selbstverwirklichung der Architekten da und die kommunalen Plangungsbehörden seien dynamisch und in der Lage, auftretende Probleme zu lösen.

Gerne vergleicht Lennard die Stadt mit einem menschlichen Organismus. Da dieser im Laufe der Jahre krank geworden sei, müsse sich eine intensive Behandlung nun anschließen. Dazu müsse sich der bislang eingeschlagene Weg des Städtebaus radikal ändern. ‘Unsere Städte müssen lebensfähiger, sicherer und erlebnisreicher werden,’ betont der IMCL-Mitbegründer und fügt hinzu, daß, ‘das Menschenleben gar nicht gut sein kann, wenn Architektur und Gestaltung einer Stadt nicht stimmen.’

Kommunalpolitische Blätter, 10.9.1995

“Lindau (sis) – Ein Punkt fand sich in nahezu allen Referaten des IMCL-Kongresses (International Making Cities Livable) in Lindau wieder: Die Architektur muß menschlicher werden und Raum schaffen, um Zusammenleben zu ermöglichen.

‘Nur wenn die Struktur, sozusagen die DNA einer Stadt stimmt, dann stimmt auch das soziale Zusammenleben,’ betonte zum Beispiel Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard in ihrem Vortrag. ‘Soll eine neue Stadt lebendig gestaltet werden, muß die Qualität der alten Städte übernommen werden,’ empfahl die amerikanische Professorin. In den neuen Gebäuden müßten sich die für die Gegend charakteristischen Formen wiederfinden, um so eine Einheit zu schaffen, mit der sich die Menschen identifizieren können.

Emfindlich gestört die Entwicklung einer Stadt durch ‘Implantate,’ die ohne Verbindung zur gewachsenen Struktur hineingezwungen würden und letztlich ein Fremdkörper blieben. ‘Es ist wie wenn in einen Organismus ein fremdes Organ eingepflanzt wird,’ verglich Suzanne Crowhurst Lennard. Die Gefahr, daß dieses ‘Organ’ sich nicht einfüge sei groß. Die Gemeinschaft werde so nicht nur optisch, sondern auch tiefergehend gestört.

Ob ein nachbarschaftliches Zusammenleben in den Städten möglich sei, hänge aber auch mit davon ab, ob ausreichend Raum vorhanden sei, um Kontakt untereinander zu finden. Öffentliche Plätze seien ein Bindeglied zwischen den Anwohnern, sie ermöglichten aber auch das Zusammentreffen mit der ‘Außenwelt’.

Gerecht werden müßten die Architekten diesem Verlangen, indem großzügige Eingangsfronten, Gärten und Außenbereiche geschickt Raum für soziale Kontakte schaffen würden. Bedauert wurde von vielen Referenten, daß diese entscheidende ‘soziale Komponente’ in der Architektur-Ausbildung kaum berücksichtigt werde. ‘Die Architekten müssen sich in Zukunft genau überlegen, wie ein Gebäude auf den Mensch wirkt,’ betonte auch Professor Henry Lennard.

‘Doch das können sie nur, wenn sie verstehen, wie Menschen zusammenleben und vor allem wie wichtig es für Kinder ist, in ihrer direkten Umgebung Erfahrungen sammeln zu können.’ In abgeschlossenen, vollklimatisierten und verglasten Wohnsilos sei die Distanz zur Umwelt ähnlich groß, wie wenn Wirklichkeit nur noch per Internet und Fernsehen erlebt werde. ‘Doch das Zusammenleben lernt man nicht per Mausklick,’ befürchtet Lennard. Aufgabe der Städteplaner sei es deshalb, Raum zu schaffen, um einander zu begegnen, ‘um Zusammenleben zu ermöglichen.’

Aus “Raum schaffen für ein Zusammenleben”

Lindauer Zeitung, 9. Mai 1998- Nr. 106/1