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  • Michael Mehaffy

Final speaker roster almost set for 60th International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference in April

Updated: Mar 13

The rich lineup of frontier urban topics will include new research and case studies, and new tools and strategies for public space, placemaking, urban resilience, housing affordability and diversity, zoning code reform, street and transportation reform, aesthetics and livability, and livable cities and towns for ALL.

Above, the partial lineup of speakers for the 60th IMCL conference. See below for a detailed listing.

NEWPORT, RI - The lineup of notable speakers for the gathering here April 26-28 is almost set, and final additions will be made at the end of this week (March 15). The speakers include leading researchers, public officials, NGO heads, and professionals from the US and internationally.

Senior representatives from our partners will join, including Ben Bolgar from The King's Foundation, UK (formerly The Prince's Foundation), Andrew Rudd of UN-Habitat, Mallory Baches of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Setha Low from the Public Space Research Group at City University of New York, Ethan Kent from PlacemakingX, Madeleine Spencer from PlacemakingUS, Christy Milliken from The Seaside Institute, Steve Mouzon from The Urban Guild, Marjo Uotila from the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU), and Jim Brainard, former Mayor of Carmel, Indiana (a stunning case study of successful suburban retrofit) now a board member of the Lennard Institute, hosts of the IMCL conference series.

The conference, on "Making Cities Livable: From Research Into Communication, and ACTION," will be held at the beautiful and historic Bois Doré Estate in Newport, RI USA, April 26-28, 2024. The estate, centrally located in Newport, is being made available through the generous sponsorship of Fairfax and Sammons Architects.

Among the speakers already confirmed:

  • Edgar Adams, Professor at Roger Williams University, will speak with two of his research students on "Just Urbanism: Reclamation + Repair = Renewal."

  • Chris Allen, Director of Development at Strong Towns, will speak on "Your Resilient Community" in a time of growing challenges for cities and towns.

  • Rachelle Alterman, Professor of Law and Urban Planning at the Neaman Center of the Technion University, will speak on "Housing Policy and Land-use Law - A strained marriage," as well as the latest research on tall buildings and their impacts on their surrounding communities.

  • David Brain, Professor of Sociology at New College of Florida, will speak on "Can research ever really matter? The limits of evidence-based approaches to the design of cities."

  • Nir Buras, Principal of Classic Planning Institute, will speak on the latest research on neuroscience and aesthetics, with a case study of a new project in Indiana.

  • Patrick Condon, Professor of Urban Design at the University of British Columbia, will speak on "Unveiling the True Culprit: The Soaring Cost of Urban Housing and the Imperative for Land Value Capture."

  • Kristie Daniel, Director of the Livable Cities Program at HealthBridge Canada, will speak on "Scaling Up Public Spaces - Examples from HealthBridge Around the World."

  • Bari Freeman, Executive Director of Bike Newport, will speak on "The Rhode Island Streets Transformation Project (RISTP)." Bari and her colleagues will also offer a bike tour of Newport (details to be announced soon!)

  • Mary Gardill, Project Manager for Large Scale Private Public Partnerships of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will present and analyze case studies of regeneration in waterfront communities, and their mechanisms of delivery.

  • Justin Hollander, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, will speak on "Cognitive Architecture" and the role of user experience in livable urban environments.

  • Rob Knapp, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Sustainability at The Evergreen State College, will present a case study of green building and its relation to larger problems of livability, aesthetics, and quality of life.

  • Senchel Matthews, Associate Director of Built Environment for Full Frame Initiative, will speak, with several of her colleagues, on "Creating Public Spaces that Center Equity and Wellbeing through New Tech".

  • Krista Nightengale, Executive Director of Better Block Foundation, will speak on tactical urbanism and the incremental strategies for winning over neighbors and stakeholders.

  • Rory Nisan, Deputy Mayor of the City of Burlington, Ontario, will speak on "A New Municipal Growth Framework for Canada: towards financial sustainability for municipalities."

  • Alli Quinlan, principal of Flintlock LAB, will speak on pre-approved plans for middle housing as a path for streamlined delivery of affordable and diverse housing by cities and towns, including rowhomes.

  • Ryan Sandwick, Assistant Professor of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture at Cal State Poly San Luis Obispo, will speak on "Turning Academic Aspirations into Community Action," with an emphasis on research into communication, and positive change.

  • Ann Sussman, President of the Human Architecture and Planning Institute, will speak on neuroscience and user experience, with an emphasis on new research on eye-tracking methodologies.

  • David Woltering, Principal of Woltering Community Planning, will speak on "Delivering not just more, but truly livable, housing for generations to come".

Newport is easily accessible from New York, Boston or Providence, by train, bus or car. The venue is within walking distance of many historic inns, shops and services. There are also abundant opportunities for side tours of local landmarks and case study projects (including some we will offer, to be announced soon).

We hope you can join us for a rich and important discussion, and an opportunity to develop further collaborations between attendees! More information is at



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