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The International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference series was begun in 1985 by Suzanne Lennard, a British architectural and urban scholar, and Henry Lennard, a Viennese medical sociologist.   The Lennards were passionate about sharing the best evidence-based lessons of great cities and towns to improve the quality of life for all. To do it, they brought together many of the world’s most innovative and successful mayors, planners, economic development specialists, designers, developers, NGO officials, and researchers and scholars.  In the years since its founding, the IMCL has become a unique peer-to-peer gathering of city leaders and researchers, typically hosted in beautiful, intimate and instructive case-study locales. While we recognize that online education is an increasingly important professional development component, the IMCL believes there is no substitute for a component of face-to-face and on-the-ground immersive learning, personally sharing  effective tools and strategies to drive positive change.  

In accordance with Suzanne's wishes following her death in 2019, a group of friends and IMCL stakeholders committed to continuing its important mission and legacy, founding the Suzanne C. and Henry L. Lennard Institute for Livable Cities in that year.  The Lennard Institute is a 501(c)(3) Public Benefit Corporation registered in the USA.  We will continue to organize the IMCL conferences, and we will develop other projects as appropriate to fulfill the mission of the IMCL.


We share effective tools and strategies for making more livable, humane, ecological cities, towns and suburbs.  

Each IMCL gathering has focused on a host city offering important and timely lessons in livable and sustainable urban development. Past hosts have included Freiburg, Germany; Charleston, USA; Bristol, UK; Venice, Italy; Portland (OR) USA; and Carmel, Indiana, USA. Importantly, the IMCL conferences cover not just big cities but also small towns and suburbs, since such a large percentage of the world’s inhabitants live in these areas, and many of the world’s social, economic and environmental challenges occur there too.

In 1985, when these conferences began, there was no discussion at other planning or architectural conferences about making our cities more “livable”. The IMCL Conferences brought new attention to the importance of making cities livable for all including children and the elderly, the need for public transit, bicycle lanes, and traffic calmed streets, for human scale architecture and mixed use urban fabric, for reviving city centers and creating public places where people could gather for farmers markets, festivals, outdoor cafes and community social life.

By bringing together people of vision from all disciplines at the past IMCL Conferences, by presenting the best examples from Europe and North America, and by honoring cities and civic leaders for their achievements, we work to build more livable cities across North America, Europe, and the world.

You can learn more about the IMCL history by visiting the IMCL archives at

Meet our Board of Stewards.

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The IMCL Board of Stewards includes global leaders in city government, planning, design, academia, and other fields. Alphabetical from top left:

1.    Allam, Zaheer, urban strategist, Visio Architecture Ltd, Mauritius
2.   Brainard, James, Mayor of Carmel, IN, USA
3.    Burrell, John, Architect, UK
4.    Condon, Patrick, Professor of Urban Design, University of British Columbia
5.    Dunham-Jones, Ellen, Professor, Georgia Tech, USA
6.    Ferguson, George, architect, past president, RIBA and first elected Mayor of Bristol, UK.
7.    Fernández Gómez, Ricardo Arturo, Director of Development, State of Jalisco, Mexico
8.    Jackson, Richard, Professor Emeritus of Public Health, UCLA, USA
9.    Low, Setha, Professor, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA
10.    Lykoudis, Michael, Professor, former Dean, University of Notre Dame, USA
11.    Mahdjoubi, Lamine, Dip. Arch, M.Phil, PhD, Professor of the Built Environment, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.
12.    Mazzola, Ettore, Professor, University of Notre Dame, USA
13.    Miguelez, Alain, Vice-President, Capital Planning and Chief Planner, National Capital Commission (Canada) 
14.    Nguyen, Ngoc, Professor, University of Da Nang, Vietnam
15.    Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark, Research Professor, IS Global Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Spain
16.    Petrella, Laura, Head of Planning, Finance and Economy, Urban Practices Branch, UN-Habitat, Kenya
17.    Phillips, Rick, architect, San Francisco, USA
18.    Plater-Zyberk, Elizabeth, architect, DPZ CoDesign, Professor, University of Miami, USA
19.    Roji, Ayanda, General Manager, Research, Policy and Knowledge Management, City of Johannesburg, South Africa
20.    Stafford, Philip, Co-Design Director, Commons Planning, Inc. and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University.
21.    Talen, Emily, Professor, University of Chicago, USA
22.    von Ungern-Sternberg, Sven, Governor of State of Süd-Baden, and former Mayor of Freiburg, Germany

Meet our Directors and Staff.

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Left to right: Michael Mehaffy, Executive Director, Bingen, Washington, USA; Jim Brainard, Director, Carmel, Indiana USA; Tigran Haas,  Director, Stockholm, Sweden; Leslie Barrett, Webmaster and Office Manager, The Dalles, Oregon, USA.


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