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  • Michael Mehaffy

Less than one month until IMCL 2023 in Poundbury and Dorchester!

A jam-packed conference will include 25 plenary speakers and 48 breakout speakers, with terrific partners including the Duchy of Cornwall, The Prince's Foundation, INTBAU, UN-Habitat, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Seaside Institute, and many more

ABOVE: Left, the remarkable case study of Poundbury, where we will gather for the opening reception, closing party, and many tours and breakout sessions. Right, the beautiful Corn Exchange in Dorchester our main plenary venue, a little over one mile from Poundbury. The venue is 2.5 hours from London by train. Photo credits (L-R): Duchy of Cornwall, Nigel Freeman.


DORCHESTER, UK: Final preparations are under way for the 59th International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference, occurring this year in Dorchester, UK, and its urban extension of Poundbury - a historic demonstration project in ecological urbanism and architecture.


The conference topic is "The Ecology of Place: From Understanding to ACTION," and the conference will bring together leading scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and other "doers" who seek to learn from emerging lessons in best practice -- not only from Poundbury, but other case studies we will examine from around the world. As the name suggests, the emphasis is on ACTION -- actual tools and strategies that participants can take home to help transform the ways we plan and build, toward a new generation of more sustainable, resilient, affordable, equitable, ecological -- LIVABLE -- cities, suburbs, towns and countrysides.


Executive Director Michael Mehaffy will be working with Duchy officials and other partners to finalize all arrangements during the week of September 18-22. "It's a beautiful venue, both the Poundbury locale and the historic Corn Exchange in Dorchester," he says. "And it will be a remarkable gathering of partners, practitioners and activists from around the world -- and every continent except Antarctica," he notes. "This is a fantastic opportunity to meet, assess, plan, and launch important new collaborations - something I know the former Prince of Wales is keen to see happen." Mehaffy is the former Director of Education for The Prince's Foundation, one of the partners in this year's conference.


Mehaffy reports that the program is now being finalized, and the organizers hope to announce the specific sessions, speakers and topics within the week. In the meantime, the conference webpage has a schedule overview, listing of conference topics, and plenary speakers, at https://www.imcl.online/2023-poundbury.


The International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference series was begun in 1985 by Suzanne Lennard, a British architectural and urban scholar, and Henry Lennard, a Viennese medical sociologist. The Lennards were passionate about sharing the best evidence-based lessons of great cities and towns to improve the quality of life for all. To do it, they brought together many of the world’s most innovative and successful mayors, planners, economic development specialists, designers, developers, NGO officials, and researchers and scholars. In the years since its founding, the IMCL has become a unique peer-to-peer gathering of city leaders and researchers, typically hosted in beautiful, intimate and instructive case-study locales. While we recognize that online education is an increasingly important professional development component, the IMCL believes there is no substitute for a component of face-to-face and on-the-ground immersive learning, personally sharing effective tools and strategies to drive positive change.


"We are about 80% full already, so those interested in attending this year are strongly encouraged to make plans soon," Mehaffy notes. The hotels are filing up, and flights will become more expensive as the conference starting date approaches, he advises. Already, some optional events at the conference are sold out.


Again, the conference webpage is at https://www.imcl.online/2023-poundbury. Here is a short overview of the conference topics and video tour of the venue, led by Executive Director Michael Mehaffy:



We hope to see you there!


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