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61st International Making Cities Livable
Cortona, Italy * October 29-November 1, 2024

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"The Ecology of Place: Learning from Nature, Culture, and History"


Abstracts are due July 31, 2024
Notifications will occur by August 15, 2024
Speaker registration is required by September 15, 2024
Papers must be submitted for the e-reader by October 1, 2024

SUMMARY: The Lennard Institute for Livable Cities, a public benefit educational corporation and producer of the venerable International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference series, invites you to submit a no-obligation abstract for the upcoming 61st conference in our long-running series begun in 1985.  The IMCL is a premier gathering of city leaders, researchers, practitioners, educators and other urban stakeholders, who meet in intimate, instructive and inspiring locales to explore case studies and share peer-to-peer knowledge on frontier urban challenges.


Following our successful April, 2024 conference in Newport, Rhode Island, we have opened the Call for Abstracts and registration for the next conference, to be held in beautiful and instructive Cortona, Italy, October 29-November 1, 2024. The previous Newport conference concluded with an overall attendee evaluation of 4.81 out of 5. Attendee comments included:


“A wonderful conference and stunning venue.”

“It was brilliantly organized!”

“I left the conference encouraged - there are many challenges ahead of us, but I am so invigorated by the tenacity of those stepping up to face them.”

“This is the best conference I've ever attended. There was much to take in; so many people with exceptional experience.”

We invite researchers, city officials, educators, practitioners, and NGO leaders to share their knowledge on the topic(s) of the conference, by submitting a 300-word abstract. Accepted abstract authors will also be invited to submit full papers for the conference e-reader (optional). The e-reader will be published on with a DOI number. Authors may also elect to submit papers to partner journals for peer-reviewed publication, following reviews, comments and modifications during the conference. 

THEME: "The Ecology of Place: Learning from Nature, Culture, and History"


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.

We will focus in particular on the lessons of historic regions like Tuscany, with its remarkable polycentric structure of cities and towns, and its combination of planned and informal urban morphologies. Using Cortona as a case study and inspiring locale, we will examine similar regions' deep cultural roots as well as their ecological relationship to the land. We will consider food quality and security, markets and public spaces, placemaking and place management, walkability and low-carbon living, urban resilience and climate readiness, affordability, equity and opportunities for all, and other topics of urban health, well-being and livability.   

The conference will gather internationally prominent policy leaders, practitioners, community leaders and top scholars, to share lessons and discuss potential collaborations.  A major aim of the conference will be to serve as a “springboard” toward new research, new collaborative action, and new ways of communicating and driving the necessary transition ahead.

Partners in the conference will include The King's Foundation (UK), UN-Habitat, the Congress for the New Urbanism, INTBAU, The Seaside Institute, HealthBridge, the Urban Guild, and others to be announced. 


The historic hill town of Cortona has a rich history going back to Etruscan times and beyond, with splendid and instructive examples of urban space and place. The city and the region offer many lessons about contemporary challenges of health, economic well-being, agriculture, food, climate adaptation, viable small-town and rural life amid rapid urbanization, and new models of economic diversity and resilience.


Cortona is approximately 1.5 hours from Florence and 2.5 hours from Rome, accessible by train, bus or car, with an assortment of historic hotels, inns and home rentals.  The city is famous as the setting of Frances Mayes' autobiographical 1996 book Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy.  Cortona is the Sister City of our 2021 venue, Carmel, Indiana. 


The venue is the City of Cortona’s Conference and Event Centre, located in the historic convent of Sant'Agostino in the city center. There are many small hotels and rental homes nearby. Late October is an excellent time to travel affordably and find ample accommodation in central Italy, with generally very good weather. 

TOPICS: You may contribute an abstract describing your work (to be presented at the conference, and also developed into a full conference paper if you wish) on any one or a combination of the following topics, or others related to our theme:

•    Great Public Spaces for ALL: Learning from Italy, and Elsewhere

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

•    The Place of Beauty: Neuroscience, Health and Sustainability in Placemaking

•    Slow Food, Slow Cities: Food Quality, Health, and Urban Well-being

•    Markets and Marketable Local Products: Viable Small-Town Businesses

•    The Next Renaissance? Rebuilding Homes, Neighborhoods and Towns

•    Zoom Towns, Livable Places, and the New Economy

•    Jane Jacobs and the Power of Diversity, Equity, and Web-Networks

•    Christopher Alexander and the Power of Patterns, and Timeless Ways of Building

•    Building Better: Tools, Strategies, and Design Ideas

•    Rapid Urbanization: Implementing the New Urban Agenda

•    Climate Change and Urban Form: Mitigation, Adaptation, Resilience

•    Financial Tools and Externality Feedbacks: Making It Pay

•    Sustainable Infrastructure: Complete Streets, Regenerative Utilities and Transit

•    Access For Everyone: Bringing the Benefits of Livable Cites to ALL

•    The Ecology of Place: Concepts, Metrics, Practices

•    Learning from Nature, Culture, and History for Contemporary Challenges



Abstracts are due July 31, 2024
Notifications will occur by August 15, 2024
Speaker registration is required by September 15, 2024
Papers must be submitted for the e-reader by October 1, 2024



Accepted speaker registration is $595.00 (Approx. EUR 553.00)
Early Bird registration (non-speaker) is also $595.00 (through July 31)
Discount registration (non-speaker) is $695.00 (Through September 30) 
Full participant (non-speaker) registration is $795.00 (after October 1)
Student (non-speaker) registration is $295.00 (ID required)



Tuesday, October 29
   9AM Optional Tours
   5PM Welcome Reception
Wednesday, October 30
   8AM Registration
   9AM-5:30PM  Conference
   7PM Evening Activity (TBC)
Thursday, October 31
   8AM Registration
   9AM-5:30PM  Conference
   7PM Evening Activity (TBC)

Friday, November 1
   8AM Registration
   9AM-5:30PM  Conference
   7PM Evening Activity (TBC)

Saturday, November 2
   9AM Optional Tours TBA

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