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  • Michael Mehaffy

Final speaker roster set for IMCL 2023, on health, equity, ecology, climate resilience and more

25 plenary speakers and 48 breakout speakers will explore new and effective tools and strategies in code reform, zoning innovations, urban finance, and other topics, aimed at changing the urban "operating system for growth"

ABOVE: The 2023 IMCL conference will be held in the remarkable pilot ecological community of Poundbury, begun by the then-Prince of Wales in 1993 and recently named one of the UK's "Best Places to Live" by The Sunday Times.


The deadline has passed for breakout speaker registrations for the 2023 International Making Cities Livable conference, to be held in Poundbury and Dorchester, UK, October 10-13, 2023. The final roster of speakers has now been identified for breakouts as well as plenaries, and the final schedule is in development.


Registration for attendee seating is also filling quickly, with 75% of the tickets already sold, according to conference manager Leslie Barrett.


Among the confirmed participants recently added:


Dan Parolek is a well-known leader in so-called "missing middle" housing, as well as a pioneer of form-based codes, which focus on regulating the impacts of adjacent buildings rather than their use per se. Through the firm Opticos Design, he and his partner Karen are also the planners of a number of innovative projects including a new car-free community in Tempe, Arizona.


Roberta Brandes Gratz is an acclaimed urbanist and author, and a former long-time colleague of the celebrated urbanist Jane Jacobs, with whom she co-founded the Center for the Living City. She is also the author of a highly regarded book on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, We're Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City.


Chuck Marohn is the founder of Strong Towns, a celebrated organization and movement that advocates for the development of more walkable compact towns, and the restructuring of suburbia, They focus in particular on revealing the hidden fiscal impacts of sprawl.


Setha Low is a professor of anthropology and environmental psychology at the Graduate School, City University of New York, and one of the most acclaimed scholars today on the topic of public space. Her new book, Why Public Space Matters, will be featured at the conference,


Bob Gibbs is a highly regarded consultant in planning and positioning mixed-use retail and commercial, a key ingredient of successful walkable mixed-use projects. He has been involved in some of the best-known mixed-use and new urbanist projects, including Carmel, Indiana, Seabrook, Washington and many more.

Semir Zeki is a professor of neuroaesthetics at University College London, and a foremost authority of the neuroscience of beauty. His work has re-ignited interest in the topic of beauty in the human environment, and its unrecognized importance for human health and well-being.


José Chong is the leader of the Global Public Space Programme at UN-Habitat, with expertise in Urban Development, Post-disaster Architecture, Renewable Energies and Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism.


Ayanda Roji is head of Environmental Education and Research at the City of Johannesburg, South Africa, and the founder of the Centre on African Public Space (CAPS), a new initiative to address the challenge of public space in African cities and towns.


Steve Mouzon is the founder of the Urban Guild, a premier professional body of leaders in urban planning and development, and author of the book The Original Green.


And many more -- too many to list here... (Apologies to those who were left off due to space limitations, and certainly not for lack of accomplishments or prominence!)


The current roster of plenary speakers is listed below (in reverse alphabetical order):









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