57th Conference in Carmel

57th International Making Cities Livable Conference on

From Sprawl to Neighborhoods: Livable Cities (and Suburbs) for ALL

Call for Papers and Design Award Competition Entries

June 2-6, 2020
The Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel, IN

Join us for a very special 57th IMCL Conference, "From Sprawl to Neighborhoods!"

Our 2020 conference will take place in the livability success story of Carmel, Indiana - a fascinating showcase of transformation from a sprawling bedroom suburb of Indianapolis into a thriving, successful community. We'll share concrete examples of what has worked in this and other suburbs, where such a high percentage of the population now lives - either by choice, by plan, or too often because they have been unwillingly displaced from gentrifying city cores. We'll examine tools and strategies that are effective in building a new generation of walkable, equitable, livable cities - AND suburbs - for all! 

Carmel is highly accessible (just 35 minutes from the major hub airport of Indianapolis) with a wide range of accommodation available. Indianapolis has regular direct flights from all over the US as well as Canada, Europe and Mexico, and also convenient connections through Chicago, New York and Washington. Rail service is also available through Chicago, Minneapolis or Washington, affording the opportunity for fascinating side trips. 

We hope you will join us to exchange important lessons in the exemplary case study of Carmel!

Mayor James Brainard's achievements are remarkable, including a Historic Arts Center, a new downtown, a magnificent performing arts center, new mixed-use buildings and new neighborhoods, all interconnected with bike lanes and traffic-calmed streets. You will be amazed by what can be done by a mayor with vision and a city that rejoices in replacing sprawl with functional, livable neighborhoods.

We will look at what can be done for all kinds of distressed and sprawling suburbs as well as other city neighborhoods. Many of our cities are using infill to create more walkable neighborhoods, rezoning for mixed use and human scale, (especially along transit corridors), building transit routes in order to enable this denser development, and developing tools to prevent gentrification in poor neighborhoods, but there are many challenges and pitfalls. We will see some of the most inspiring projects from around the world that are using these tools.

When we do it right, children and elders can walk or bike to school, services, grocery stores, and access public transit, without having to cross dangerous streets. Streets are populated and lively, and there is a sense of community.

Carmel is offering a spectacular hospitality program, numerous biking, walking and bus tours, dinners, evening receptions, social events and entertainment of all kinds. Thanks to our host, Mayor Jim Brainard, Carmel will offer an outstanding conference venue.

We will also use the occasion to celebrate the life and legacy of Suzanne Lennard, IMCL co-founder.  The cause of livable cities lost a great champion this year -- but her legacy will go on, along with the IMCL conference series begun by her with her husband Henry Lennard. In that spirit, I and the rest of the IMCL board, including Mayor Brainard, look forward to welcoming you to Carmel for a great conference and celebration! 


Michael Mehaffy, Ph.D.
International Making Cities Livable 

Dear conference attendees:

I'm excited to invite you to the City of Carmel this year for the 57th Annual International Making Cities Livable conference to see how we have created a vibrant city by transforming a car suburb into a more walkable community. At past Livable Cities conferences, I have learned from the best in the world about creating distinct mixed use human scale areas to which people are drawn and in which they can thrive. As you walk or bike through our central core, you will see many of the principles in action at our new downtown City Center, the thriving Arts & Design District and Midtown.

At the Livable Cities conference in Carmel, you will have the opportunity to discuss a wide variety of strategies for cities whether large or small, whether urban or rural, designed to improve how your residents, businesses and visitors interact. Thought provoking discussions and great visuals help convey how to better plan public spaces, transportation patterns and other city design tools to help your city compete among the best.

This conference brings together a blend of academic leaders, elected officials, city planners and engineers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Canada and across the United States. Attendees will have the unparalleled opportunity to hear from all corners of the globe and have projects critiqued during the competition segment of the conference.

The Livable Cities conference also allows plenty of time for attendees to discuss their ideas and current projects or issues with others and get helpful feedback. In addition, we'll make sure you get out and about to explore all that Central Indiana has to offer. We know that you will find the blend of our hospitality and culture a welcome surprise. I look forward to seeing you in June of 2020 in Carmel, Indiana.

Very truly yours,

Jim Brainard
City of Carmel, IN


You will want to plan a few days before or after the conference to experience the beautiful city of Carmel.

Carmel: A City to Experience (YouTube)


Arriving in Carmel by Air

The Indianapolis International Airport, a major midwest hub (IND), is served by regular direct flights from all over the US as well as Canada, Mexico and Europe.  The airport is located off I-70 just five minutes west of the I-465 loop and approximately 35 minutes from downtown Carmel. To reach Guest Services at IND call 317-487-7243 or stop by the Guest Services desk which is located in the main area of the airport (Civic Plaza), just beyond the Ticketing Hall.

Indianapolis International Airport
7800 Col. H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46241

Arriving in Carmel by Train

Indianapolis is conveniently located on the Amtrak Cardinal line from Chicago to New York.  Additional stops include Washington D.C., Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Minneapolis-St. Paul, offering scenic side trips before or after the IMCL conference. Enjoy the splendor of Union Station, a fine Richardsonian Romanesque structure built in 1888. Carmel is 30 minutes by car from the station. 

Amtrak Union Station
350 South Illinois Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Ground Transportation - Airport

Car Rental

IND offers eight car rental options at our Ground Transportation Center, located on the first floor of the Terminal Garage. Off-airport car rental companies are also available. 

Taxi Service

Taxi service is available at the curb on the lower level of the terminal just outside of Baggage Claim. There is a $15 minimum charge for all fares from the airport, regardless of distance.

Uber & Lyft

Uber and Lyft services are available from the airport to your selected destination. When using these services for pick-up, exit the terminal to the Ground Transportation Center on the first floor of the Terminal Garage. UBER & LYFT​ 

Black Car Service

Shared ride and personal luxury limousine services are available in the Ground Transportation Center, located on the first floor of the garage as you exit the terminal. 

Private Car Service

Luxury Worldwide Transportation services provide turnkey transportation services including airport transfers.

Ground Transportation - Train Station

Union Station Indianapolis has a similar offering of taxi, Uber, Lyft, and bus options.  There are car rental agencies in nearby downtown locations.  For more information see the TrainWeb.org website. 

Hotels in Carmel

IMCL is reserving a block of rooms at the new, luxury Hotel Carmichael, located next to the Palladium in downtown Carmel!

Special rates will be available to IMCL participants after registration. Please check back soon for more information. You can learn more about Hotel Carmichael here.

Visitor Information

For complete travel and tourism information, check out the Visit Hamilton County website, or the page dedicated for information about the City of Carmel, especially for local visitor information.

57th IMCL Sponsors



We Look Forward to Seeing You!