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57th IMCL conference poised to restart in-person conferences with a bang

The June lineup now includes 18 keynotes and 80 breakout presentations, with speakers from 22 states, 17 countries and 6 continents, as well as tours, exhibits, receptions and more

SHARING THE LATEST TOOLS AND STRATEGIES. Just some of the keynote speakers - researchers, practitioners and city leaders - who will share their expertise: L-R (top row) Ellen Dunham Jones, co-author of the new book Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia; Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, co-author of Suburban Nation; Chris Leinberger, author of The Option of Urbanism; Laura Petrella, Head of Planning, Finance and Economy for UN-Habitat; (second row) Richard J. Jackson, MD, MPH, former Director, US National Center for Public Health at the CDC; Paul Mugambe, Mayor-elect for Kampala, Uganda (Nakawa Division); Sven von Ungern-Sternberg, former Mayor of Freiburg, Germany, and current governor of the region; and George Ferguson, former Mayor of Bristol, UK, and Past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

UPDATE March 15, 2021

With US COVID-19 immunizations scheduled to be widely available by May, and many other countries also aggressively ramping up vaccinations, the June 8-12 conference, "From Sprawl to Neighborhoods: Livable Cities (and Suburbs) for ALL" is shaping up to be one of the earliest in-person professional conferences to resume for those dedicated to more livable cities, suburbs and towns. It's also shaping up to be a truly international event, with 17 countries and all continents except Antarctica represented. (Due to time differences as well as the pandemic, some international speakers may appear via video.)

The conference of just 350 attendees will be hosted by the City of Carmel, Indiana, an impressive case study of suburban retrofit into a walkable mixed-use town. The venue will offer spacious seating in its beautiful new 1,700 seat Palladium concert hall, along with many outdoor tours and activities. Carmel is 30 minutes from the Indianapolis airport, which in turn is a short hop from many major US hubs, and less than 200 miles from Chicago.

Topics will include health (especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic), equity, affordability, ending homelessness, retrofitting streets and suburbs, sustainability, resilience, and of course, urban livability. The focus will be on effective solutions, especially for emerging city challenges, and on peer-to-peer exchange of the latest tools and strategies. Among the many institutions represented will be the American Academy of Housing and Communities, the Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods, the Centre for the Future of Places, Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, IS Global Barcelona Institute for Global Health, UN-Habitat, US Public Health Service, and World Urban Parks.

The conference will also feature breakout presentations from researchers representing 27 US universities as well as 17 international universities from Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. This will be an outstanding opportunity to learn the latest effective actions to make cities more successful, more sustainable and more livable.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, our conference host, is dedicated to assuring that all attendees get the most out of the conference -- and have a great time too. He notes that conference-goers "will have the opportunity to discuss a wide variety of strategies for cities whether large or small, whether urban or rural, designed to improve how your residents, businesses and visitors interact. Thought provoking discussions and great visuals help convey how to better plan public spaces, transportation patterns and other city design tools to help your city compete among the best."

The City of Carmel will also serve as an important case study, allowing attendees to compare notes on the latest effective tools and strategies. "You will see how we have created a vibrant city by transforming a car suburb into a more walkable community," says Mayor Brainard. "As you walk or bike through our central core, you will see many of the principles in action at our new downtown City Center, the thriving Arts & Design District and Midtown."

Mayor Brainard credits the IMCL conference series with inspiring many of the successes of Carmel, and much of the detailed how-to knowledge. "At past Livable Cities conferences, I have learned from the best in the world about creating distinct mixed use, human scale areas to which people are drawn and in which they can thrive. The Livable Cities conference also allows plenty of time for attendees to discuss their ideas and current projects or issues with others and get helpful feedback."

But Mayor Brainard also wants to assure that attendees have a wonderful time. "We'll make sure you get out and about to explore all that Carmel and Central Indiana have to offer. We know that you will find the blend of our hospitality and culture a welcome surprise."

More information is at

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