top of page
Bois Dore 1.jpg

Download the conference proceedings HERE.

We Completed the 60th International Making Cities Livable!

"Making Cities Livable: Research Into Communication, and ACTION"

A research symposium at the historic Bois Dore Estate, Newport, RI USA

Sharing effective new tools and strategies for the front-line challenges of cities, towns and suburbs in 2024

The IMCL and its partners were honored to hold the 60th conference in the venerable series begun in 1985. The IMCL is a unique international peer-to-peer gathering of civic leaders, professionals and scholars dedicated to transitioning to a more livable, humane and ecological generation of cities, towns and suburbs. Once again, we gathered in an instructive and inspiring locale, to share the latest research and case studies on effective new tools and strategies to meet the new generation of urban challenges. 


Our focus for this conference was on the tools and strategies to overcome the legacy of exclusionary planning and zoning, and the related damage of fragmented, auto-centric planning. We explored effective ways to build, protect and enhance thriving public spaces, and the adjacent private spaces and uses that afford well-being, social interaction, quality of life, exercise, health, and economic opportunity, for ALL the residents of cities, towns and suburbs. 

Our venue this year was the beautiful and historic city of Newport, Rhode Island, USA. The city, founded in 1639, has a fascinating and complex history of tolerance as well as exclusion. It is a world sailing capital, and home to the famed Newport Jazz Festival as well as grand old 19th and early 20th century estates. Yet Newport also has its share of familiar challenges: lack of housing affordability and diversity, challenges in improving health and quality of life for all, the need for better walking and biking infrastructure, and, particularly challenging, issues of coastal flooding, urban resilience, and the urgency of climate-friendly planning.  













Executive Director Michael Mehaffy gives a tour of the venue, the host city, and travel logistics for the 60th IMCL conference. Newport is accessible by rail from New York, Boston or Providence. 

Our venue was the historic Bois Doré estate, built in 1927 and made available thanks to the generous sponsorship of Fairfax and Sammons Architects. The estate is centrally located in Newport, and within walking distance of many hotels, restaurants and shops (see information below). There were also opportunities for tours of landmarks in the area.


Newport is easily accessible by rail, bus or car from New York, Boston, or Providence. Our executive director, Michael Mehaffy, made a trip to prepare for the conference, and his video report is above (click on image to view).      

anne-fairfax-richard-sammons-portrait-2022 cr.jpg

Our hosts, Richard Sammons and Anne Fairfax of Fairfax and Sammons Architects. Image courtesy Traditional Building. 

We were privilleged to have a terrific lineup of eminent researchers, government officials, practitioners and NGO leaders (in alphabetical order):

Newport Speakers Roster - Upd Apr 19.jpg

And a huge thanks to our sponsors, partners, and affiliate organizations!

IMCL 2024 Sponsor Logos - Mar 27.png


60th International Making Cities Livable (IMCL)
“Making Cities Livable: Research into Communication and ACTION”
April 26-28, 2024 * Newport, RI USA

THEME: As humanity confronts multiple historic challenges, our settlements and their characteristics are set to play a central role – especially so in a time of historic rapid urbanization.  Our cities, towns and suburbs are where we interact, move about, consume resources, develop and deploy our technologies, and create most of the impacts we are having on Planet Earth. In that sense, our settlements are major contributors to our challenges – but they also offer an important platform for joining up key issues of emissions and contamination, resource use and depletion, and ecological destruction, as well as opportunities for equitable human development, health, and well-being.

Following our highly successful 2023 conference in the UK, the Lennard Institute for Livable Cities, and its International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference series, invited proposers to present and share their work, meet and discuss with others, and join in this collaborative platform for “research into communication and ACTION.”  We gathered policy leaders, practitioners, community leaders and top scholars, to share lessons and discuss potential collaborations.  We gathered key partners from a number of countries to share their knowledge and collaboration. A major aim of the conference was to serve as a “springboard” toward new research, new collaborative action, and new ways of communicating and driving the necessary changes for the urban transition ahead.

Our venue for the conference was the beautiful Bois Dore estate in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, made available through the generosity of Fairfax and Sammons Architects. This facility has ample space for plenaries of up to 100 attendees, as well as breakout spaces and areas for networking, book sales, and exhibition materials. Newport is centrally located on the US East Coast between Boston and New York, with bus and train service as well as flights into nearby Providence. The venue provides an opportunity for collaboration and partnership with a number of universities in Boston, New York and beyond.  

Partners in the conference included the Congress for the New Urbanism, UN-Habitat, The King's Foundation (formerly The Prince's Foundation), INTBAU, The Seaside Institute, the Urban Guild, and affiliates and sponsors including Rhode Island Department of Health, Bike Newport, HealthBridge Canada, the Public Space Research Group at City University of New York, Roger Williams University, PlacemakingX, Better Block Foundation, and Sustasis Foundation.   


•    Cities (and Regions) on Foot: The Power of Urban Walkability and Public Transportation

•    Zoning Reform for Diversity, Affordability, and Success 

•    The Ecology of Place: Concepts, Metrics, Practices
•    Why Public Space Matters for ALL
•    The Place of Beauty: Neuroscience, Health and Sustainability

•    The Edges of Public Space: Why the Character of Buildings Matters (and so do user preferences)
•    The Power of Diversity, Equity, and Web Networks
•    The Power of Patterns, and Timeless Ways of Building
•    The Power of Nature’s Harmony and Symmetry
•    The Dangers of Overspecialization: Overcoming Roadblocks to Reform of the “Operating System for Growth”
•    Implementing Ecologies of Place: Technologies, Practices, Finance
•    New Approaches to Public Space Creation and Improvement for All
•    Rapid Urbanization: Implementing the New Urban Agenda
•    Political Organization and “Polycentric Governance”
•    Climate Change and Urban Form: Mitigation, Adaptation, Resilience
•    Financial Tools and Externality Feedbacks: Making It Pay
•    Getting It Built: Sharing Case Lessons in Who, Why and How
•    Sustainable Infrastructure: Complete Streets, Regenerative Utilities, and Public Transit
•    Access For Everyone: Bringing the Benefits of Livable Cites to ALL



Friday, April 26

   2PM Optional Newport Bike Tour

            (Consult tour page for information)

   5PM  Welcome Reception

   6:30 PM End


Saturday, April 27

   8AM Registration

   9AM-5:30PM  Conference

   5:30PM Reception (with hors'd'oeuvres) 

   6PM Evening Plenary

   7PM End


Sunday, April 28

   8AM Registration

   9AM-5:30PM  Conference

   5:30 PM Closing Party

   7PM End

Monday, April 29

   10AM Optional Providence downtown walking tour

   (Consult tour page for information)


The historic Bois Dore estate is centrally located in Newport, with a wide range of hotels and inns available within walking distance. Newport is approximately 45 minutes by car or bus from Providence, and 1.5 hours from Boston, or 3.5 hours from New York, with a wide variety of travel options available including train, bus, and/or ferry. The Bois Dore estate is being made available through the generous sponsorship of Fairfax and Sammons Architects.

There are many nearby hotels, historic inns, B&Bs, and other lodging choices, all within walking distance of the Bois Doré venue, and all within the beautiful historic core of Newport. Some examples:

Additional helpful links:

See also the video tour by our Executive Director at the top of the page! 


Ivy Lodge Bed and Breakfast
Wayside Guest House
Artful Lodger Inn
The Firehouse (Vacation Rental for a group)
Wellington Resort
Bouchard Inn & Chanterelle Restaurant
The Cliffside Inn
Gardiner House
Hotel Viking
Mill Street Inn
The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection

          3 minutes

          5 minutes

          8 minutes

        12 minutes

        15 minutes

        15 minutes

        18 minutes

        19 minutes

        23 minutes

        24 minutes

        27 minutes

Screen Shot 2023-11-19 at 12.19.04 PM.png
Screen Shot 2023-11-19 at 12.30.50 PM.png
bottom of page