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  • Michael Mehaffy

Report from Poundbury and London for IMCL 2023!

IMCL team makes preparations for landmark gathering in October, “The Ecology of Place: From Understanding to ACTION”

Partnerships are in place with the Prince’s Foundation, the Duchy of Cornwall, INTBAU, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and others to be announced soon

ABOVE: IMCL Board member Peter Elmlund inspects one of the breakout spaces at our main venue, the beautiful Corn Exchange in Dorchester, adjoining Poundbury, UK.

We are excited to report that planning is now in place for a wonderful event in October, our 59th Annual International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference. Executive Director Michael Mehaffy and fellow Board member Peter Elmlund have just returned from a series of meetings and on-site venue inspections.

The plenry hall at the Corn Exchange.

We have firmed up our topic and themes, “The Ecology of Place: From Understanding to ACTION,” with a focus on sharing the important lessons of Poundbury and other groundbreaking projects, as well as new research on livability, urban health and well-being, city ecology, and implementation tools and strategies.

This is a poignant historical moment – the 30th anniversary of Poundbury’s groundbreaking, and the year of accession of its founder. Moreover, it is a time of great challenges, but also important achievements, and promising new resources.

Michael Mehaffy (L) joins old friends Paul Murrain (C) and Ben Bolgar (R) at the Prince's Foundation's splendid renovated Garrison Chapel in Chelsea, London.

The exciting week will begin on Monday (October 9th) with an optional reception and walking tour in London, hosted by our partner INTBAU. Those who opt to attend this event (free but limited tickets) will meet at the beautiful Garrison Chapel, a new facility for the Prince’s Foundation located in Chelsea. (The new king remains the president of the Prince’s Foundation, our key partner for the conference.) We will then enjoy a walking tour of the area.

Tuesday will be a travel day, heading to Dorchester by train (approximately two and a half hours). After checking in and relaxing at the hotel of your choice (most in the main area of Dorchester near the conference hall, see information on the website), we will make our way to Poundbury where we will gather at Jubilee Hall (on Queen Mother Square) for a reception and orientation walking tour. At 8PM, coaches (buses) will take us back to central Dorchester, a little over a mile away. (It's an easy walk, public bus or Uber, but we will use coaches for the first night.)

Wednesday through Friday will be conference days, with morning plenaries at the beautiful Corn Exchange building in central Dorchester. Afternoon breakouts will include additional sessions at the Corn Exchange, as well as tours and sessions at Poundbury.

The beautiful Corn Exchange, our main venue just down the Dorchester high street from Poundbury..

Evening activities are still being finalized, but currently we plan to have a free night on Wednesday, and then an awards dinner on Thursday (available with separate tickets). Friday evening will be our closing party, held at Jubilee Hall on Queen Mother Square.

Saturday will also include a more in-depth post-conference walking tour of Poundbury.

There are also extraordinary opportunities to explore the area around Dorchester and the Jurassic Coast, as well as the Cotswolds, Bath, the Cornwall Coast, and the Duchy and Prince’s Foundation project of Nansledan in Newquay -- and of course, London and the rest of the UK. The weather in October is often very nice, and crowds are generally not a factor. Travel costs are more manageable as well.

Abstracts are accepted for presentations and/or papers through April 30th. The link is here:

So we hope to see many of you for an important and inspiring gathering of old friends and new!

A few more shots of the site and the region:

Poundbury's Queen Mother Square.

Jubilee Hall at Queen Mother Square.

The "Jurassic Coast," ten miles from Poundbury.

Portland -- UK, not Oregon or Maine! -- on the Jurassic Coast, approx. 15 miles south of Poundbury. The delightful port town of Weymouth is also nearby.

The beautiful countryside of Dorset.

A typical town in Dorset.

Newquay on the Cornish coast, site of the Nansledan project by the Duchy of Cornwall and the Prince's Foundation.

Nansledan plan.

An area of Nansledan.

Beautiful Bath, about 60 miles from Dorchester.

The Cotswolds, about 100 miles north of Dorchester.



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