Lamine Mahdjoubi, Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of the West of England challenged the audience: “A lot of people say that a livable city is one that is livable for children. But as I am going to show, in cities around the world, children are disappearing from our urban environment. I will share with you some of the work we have been doing in looking at the link between child play, health and the built environment. 

Tjaša Ficko, Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana spoke at the Bristol Conference about why her city decided to apply to the competition to be a Green Capital of Europe, and what her city achieved that won it this prestigious award.

Patrick Condon, Professor and Chair of Urban Design at the University of British Columbia gave an insightful keynote speech at the Bristol IMCL Conference examining patterns of economic, state, corporate and planning power that lead to what he calls the “concentrated” city structure (e.g. Suzhou), or the “dispersed” city form (e.g Medellin) in which decisions are made without the guidance of the state, and often against it.

Well known to lovers of livable cities worldwide, Jan has spent his life studying people in the spaces between buildings – streets and squares. His goal - to understand how the architecture and design of a place facilitates positive social life, walkability and bikeability. He has consulted for cities around the world and taught the next generation to design and rebuild public places. And he has written many books. His most famous, Cities for People has been translated into 25 languages and now help to guide urban design around the world.

A thousand thanks for a fantastic inspiring conference.
Torgeir Esig Soerensen, Stavanger, Norway

First and foremost thank you very much for inviting me, for bestowing great honours on me and for organizing such an interesting conference with many very nice and interesting folks. I enjoyed it very much and was sorry to miss the final day.
Jan Gehl, Copenhagen, Denmark

A most amazing conference - glad I have finally made it to an IMCL event after hearing of them from afar for many years.  I was very impressed with the consistent richness.
Rod Duncan, Melbourne, Australia.

Photos from the Bristol Conference are now available on the website. If you were at the conference, I hope you will enjoy them, and they will bring back good memories. If you were not there, you are welcome to visit, and join us next year! Please click here.  

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard
For many years, IMCL emphasized ethics in planning, and ethics in city government and we had a difficult time getting the idea across. We were, of course, talking about how planning policies must be written and administered to ethically improve quality of life for all, especially those previously disregarded (children, elders, the poor) instead of prioritizing the wealthy, or the car drivers. The idea was so unfamiliar that at one conference, some participants (from San Jose city government) thought we were talking about being polite in council meetings and in interacting with staff. They had never realized that planning policies could benefit some while harming others, or the planet!

Sven von Ungern Sternberg was Mayor of Freiburg for 20 years in charge of urban design and transportation planning, guiding Freiburg’s great achievements in becoming Europe’s foremost example of a sustainable, green, healthy and child-friendly city.  For this, the city has won numerous awards, including the 1993 IMCL Vision Award.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, talks about why Bristol was selected as 2015 European Green Capital, and about Bristol’s program to become greener and healthier in the future.

“Thanks Suzanne, and first a denial: it’s not down to me that we are European Green Capital. I’ve been involved as an activist in the city for many years, but it is down to ALL those activists. It is down to Bristol’s Green Capital Partnership, which is a partnership of 800 organizations, and I always say, this is a great city in spite of its leadership. It is a great city because its a city of people who take initiative, and its the people who take the initiative that make a good place. I think that applies to everywhere, and my job is to enable…

On June 30th, IMCL Director Suzanne Crowhurst Lennard opened the 52nd IMCL Conference in Bristol, UK, with these words: “To achieve green, healthy cities we have to have an urban environment that ensures human, economic, and ecological sustainability. These are important goals, but there are massive forces that prevent us from achieving them…"

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