“Architecture and the Edges of Public Space: Tools and Strategies for a New Urban Agenda”
58th IMCL Conference, May 18-21, 2022, Le Plessis-Robinson (Paris), France 

BACKGROUND: Following our successful 2021 conference, “From Sprawl to Neighborhoods: Livable Cities (and Suburbs) for ALL,” the IMCL and its partners are pleased to announce the next conference in the acclaimed series begun in 1985. The IMCL is a unique peer-to-peer gathering of civic leaders and scholars dedicated to transitioning to a more livable, humane and ecological generation of cities, towns and suburbs. Once again, we will focus upon successful case studies and evidence-based research, sharing effective tools and strategies to drive real change.

NEXT CONFERENCE: In 2022, we will assess the role of cities, towns and suburbs in meeting the daunting challenges ahead, and in responding to a “new urban agenda” as called for by an international agreement of all 193 member states of the United Nations. We will critically examine the current state of urban policy and practice, its theories and assumptions. We will focus in particular on the central role of public space and its edges, and the need for new insights, new tools and strategies, as a key to improving the capacity of settlements to promote human flourishing and sustainable human development. 

THEME: Accordingly. our 2022 conference theme is “Architecture and the Edges of Public Space: Tools and Strategies for a New Urban Agenda.” 


In the last half-century, debate over the role of architecture in the built environment has focused almost exclusively on the stylistic characteristics of object-buildings, and the aesthetic preferences and theoretical positions of different populations. Meanwhile, a robust body of research has grown up around the structure of public space, and its importance as an arena for human connection and opportunity. But what is the role of architecture in defining and supporting robust public spaces, and thereby promoting human flourishing? What are the findings from environmental psychology, sociology, neuroscience, mathematics and other fields? And as we emerge from a global pandemic, and grapple with many other global challenges, what is the role of cities, towns and suburbs, and in particular, the public spaces at their heart? Finally, what are the specific strategies and tools we can use to improve public spaces, and their capacities to promote human well-being?  How can these tools be applied at a variety of scales of space and time? The conference will aim to offer not only much food for thought, but specific examples of implementation resources, in a peer-to-peer exchange. Specific case study examples and research findings are encouraged.

CONTEXT: The conference will take place in Le Plessis-Robinson, a remarkable case study of suburban retrofit and transformation from a monocultural bedroom community to a mixed, walkable, diverse community built on universal principles of urbanism and public space. We will compare and contrast this European context with the USA context of Carmel, Indiana, our equally impressive 2021 conference venue. The conference will feature study tours and case studies of the Paris area, including new efforts toward a “15-minute City” and other local issues and developments.


CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Presenters are invited to submit abstracts up to 300 words, on the main theme and/or the sub-themes listed below. Accepted presenters will be invited to register and present at a 15-minute breakout session (or plenary session, if invited). Full papers of up to 8,000 words plus figures will be invited and encouraged but not required, and due by April 30 to share with conference attendees. 


SPECIFIC TOPICS. Proposers may address these or other topics related to the conference theme (in no particular order):

•    The Architecture of Great Places: Buildings, Public Spaces, and Urban Form 
•    Tools and Strategies for Retrofitting Suburbia 
•    The Structure of Public Spaces, and the Importance of Social and Spatial Networks
•    Walkable, Multi-Modal 15-minute Neighborhoods
•    Polycentric Regions Versus Overheated (and Unaffordable) Cores
•    Promoting Healthy Neighborhoods, and Lessons from COVID-19
•    Climate Change, Adaptation, Mitigation, and Urban Resilience
•    Implementing the New Urban Agenda, Thinking Globally and Acting Locally
•    Learning from Informality and Slum Upgrading
•    Learning from Le Plessis-Robinson, France, Europe – and Each Other


ABSTRACT LENGTH: Maximum 300 words. Describe the paper/presentation topic, theme(s) addressed, relevance to the conference themes, and qualifications of the proposer(s). In addition, provide the name(s), affiliation and address of all proposed presenters. 



(NOTE: No fee is required for submission, but accepted speakers will be required to register at the discounted speaker rate of $595.00 USD (Approx. €508 EUR) on or before April 1, 2022.)

DEADLINE FOR FULL PAPERS (to be included in the Proceedings, if desired): April 30, 2022.