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Join us at the 61st International Making Cities Livable!

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

A gathering of city leaders in the beautiful and instructive hill town of Cortona, Italy 

“The Ecology of Place: Learning From Nature, Culture and History”
October 29-November 1, 2024 * Cortona, Italy 

Join us in the inspiring locale of Cortona, Italy, for a very special gathering of the IMCL, a unique peer-to-peer international conference of built environment researchers, professionals, municipal leaders, NGO heads, and other thought leaders, founded in 1985. Speakers at our most recent conference, in April 2024, included over 50 city leaders from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The conference garnered an attendee evaluation of 4.81 out of 5, with comments including “A wonderful conference,” “This is the best conference I've ever attended,” “Arguably one of the more interesting - and memorable - conferences I've ever attended,” An excellent conference,” and “A fabulous conference!”  

Partners in the Cortona 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. 

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.

At the IMCL, we don't just discuss these issues: we examine effective tools and strategies, presented in case studies by those who are using them, and backed up by research findings. Many of our speakers and attendees are "in the trenches" driving positive change for city livability, and they come to our conferences to share, learn, recharge, and get inspired for the challenging but fulfilling work ahead.  

Video tour of the venue by IMCL Executive Director Michael Mehaffy

The venue is the City of Cortona’s Conference and Event Centre, located in the historic convent of Sant'Agostino in the city center.  Cortona has a rich history going back to Etruscan times, 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 offers a wide 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. 


Abstracts are due by 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 USD (approx. €556 EUR)

Accepted student speaker (poster and short oral presentation) is $295.00 USD (approx. €276 EUR)

Early Bird registration (non-speaker) is also $595.00 USD, through July 31 (approx. €556 EUR)

Discount registration (non-speaker) is $695.00 USD, through September 30 (approx. €650 EUR) 
Full participant (non-speaker) registration is $795.00 USD after October 1 (a
pprox. €743 EUR)
Student (non-speaker) registration is $245.00 USD - ID required (approx. €229 EUR)


Submit abstracts HERE



Tuesday, October 29

   9AM Optional Tours (TBA) 

   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 - 7PM SPECIAL EVENT: Seaside Institute tour of Pienza, Italy!

   (Details to be announced soon)


Leading researchers, officials, practitioners, NGO heads, and others

(More to be announced soon!)


Please consider adding your name to the list by submitting an abstract! No obligation, deadline July 31, notifications by August 15.



“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.”

“It was brilliantly organized!”

(Attendee comments from our most recent conference.)

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Our venue for the conference is the beautiful city of Cortona, Italy, centrally located between Milan and Rome, and approximately 60 kilometers southeast of Florence. There is excellent rail service from Florence, Rome, Milan, Pisa or Bologna, with a short bus or Uber ride up to the hill town from the station.


Cortona offers a splendid case study of contemporary innovations in agriculture, land use, urban regeneration, markets, public spaces and their management, and sustainable economic development at a range of urban scales, as well as powerful lessons about the continuing relevance of nature, culture and history in our work. There will be ample opportunities for study trips to explore complex (and useful) patterns of urban growth, public space, and place management.

Late October is an excellent time to travel in Italy, with lower-cost travel, fewer crowds, and generally excellent weather.  Our Executive Director, Michael Mehaffy, recently traveled to Cortona to prepare for the conference, and to investigate logistics. His video report about the venue is above, and his report on the travel logistics is to the right.  

There are excellent opportunities for side trips to Florence, Tuscan hill towns, Bologna, the Cinqueterra, Rome, Venice, and many other parts of Italy.  Rome also makes an excellent gateway, offering the chance to explore that great city and its many treasures. We will have more information soon about potential study trips before and/or after the conference. 

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NEWS! Hold the date for a fascinating tour of beautiful Pienza, led by our partner Seaside Institute on Saturday, November 2!

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