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  • Michael Mehaffy

UPDATE on the inspiring venue for the 61st International Making Cities Livable (IMCL)

Updated: May 22

Executive Director Michael Mehaffy provides a tour of the venue as well as travel and accommodation details; conference set for late October

Above, the main square of Cortona, and a view of the beautiful countryside from a winding lane.

CORTONA, ITALY - The 61st International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference is set to take place here this year in late October, an ideal time to travel in Italy. Crowds are thinner, costs are lower, and weather is generally excellent. Cortona is easily accessible by rail from Florence, Pisa, Bologna, Milan or Rome.

The City of Cortona has generously offered to host and partner on the event, making available its beautiful Sant'Agostino Event and Conference Centre, a new facility in a historic convent here. Cortona has many hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts, most within easy walking distance of the venue.

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

The theme of the conference is "The Ecology of Place: Learning from Nature, Culture, and History." We will examine the particular challenges and opportunities of smaller cities like Cortona, particularly in relation to their regions, their remarkable urban form, their agriculture, 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.

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 the challenges for smaller cities and towns like Cortona, including the need to provide viable economic opportunities, especially for young people; the need to build a healthy and resilient urbanism in the face of growing climate threats; and the need to promote urban walkability, healthy living, food security, and quality of life for all.

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.

IMCL Executive Director Michael Mehaffy recently traveled to Cortona, exploring the city and our venue, as well as mapping the opportunities for hotels, travel and other logistics. His reports are below. As he notes, Cortona is surrounded by wonderful and inspiring examples of nature, culture and history, including Florence, Siena, Pisa, Bologna, and many other amazing cities. While we have many challenges for our urban and human future, and much difficult work ahead, it's important to take time to share, reflect, and enjoy the beauty of our world and its resources.

We hope to see you at a fantastic conference in Cortona, Italy!

Video tour by IMCL Executive Director Michael Mehaffy

Guide to logistics - hotels and travel



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