We’re excited to hear John present ideas and designs from the fantastic, recently released book, Street Design, which he co-authored with Victor Dover. John, an architect and board member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, says that he designs buildings with a human scale that look like they were made by human hands.

We’re thrilled to have George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, England, as one of our Keynote Speakers at this year’s conference! George is a very interesting guy. Not only is he the first elected Mayor of Bristol (elected in 2012), but he is also an international champion of placemaking, sustainability, and cities for people. Oh, and, ever since he was an architecture student, he’s been pretty easy to recognize since he always wears red trousers!  

By Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

One day not long ago (by history’s standards), streets were populated by a friendlier form of transportation: the bicycle. Accompanied by horses, trolleys, and masses of pedestrians as well, the bicycle was the first form of personal transportation before automobiles were even prototypes. Bicycles helped women to become emancipated by providing them with independent mobility. Many don’t realize that in fact it was bicyclists who first demanded that roads should be smoothly asphalted in order to ease transportation as early as the late 1800’s. A few decades later, however, streets quickly became the realm of the car.

By Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

Working up to New Year’s resolutions, Walk Score has released their official 2014 ranking of Most Walkable Cities and Neighborhoods. Checking a neighborhood’s Walk Score has been a handy tool for transplants everywhere - ratings from 1 to 100 can give you a quick overview of a house or apartment’s proximity to grocery stores, green spaces, and even bike lanes, especially for those who get around primarily by foot or bicycle.

By Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

I’ll sing it until I’m blue in the face, but public space is one of the most crucial components of an urban environment. Not only is it a huge percentage of any city, but more importantly it’s public. And that includes the sidewalks, parks, plazas, and streets – all (or most) technically belonging to the people. While it’s true that you can’t just camp out in the middle of the highway (not that you’d want to), it’s only manufactured policies that now dictate our streets are for automobiles instead of people.

But what if it was different?


Sherford is a new market town to be built near Plymouth in Devon, England on principles of true urbanism. The traditional Wiltshire market town of Marlborough inspires the design, with its Georgian-style shop/houses lining the high street. Plans paint a picture of a lively community where all trips can be made on foot. On May 22, 2013 the government announced a £32m loan to kick-start construction. 

One thing many people notice when they come to Portland is that unlike many other large cities, there is a distinct lack of large public murals downtown. Public art brings vitality to the city, and thanks to Forest for the Trees NW, there's a lot more of it in Portland. Over the course of six days, twelve artists from around the world created massive works of art all over the city. Participating businesses hosted collaborations between artists from Tokyo and Australia, along with local artists to add vibrancy to the streets.

The 50th International Making Cities Livable Conference in Portland was full of engaging speakers and lively discussion. The photos from the conference are now online for you to peruse. We thank you again for contributing to the conversation! You can see the photos here.


Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City was presented with the 2013 IMCL Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award at the 50th IMCL Conference in Portland, OR, June 25, 2013. The Award was made in recognition of his “exemplary Livability Initiative, a program to make Salt Lake City one of the greenest, most inclusive and economically viable municipalities in the country.” The initiative improves conditions for walking, cycling and public transit, in conjunction with a focus on creating “vibrant, walkable neighborhoods, community hubs, and housing for a full range of incomes.”   

At the 50th International Making Cities Livable Conference (IMCL) in Portland, OR, June 23-27, 2013 Mayor James Brainard received the 2013 International Making Cities Livable Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award “for his inspirational leadership in creating a vibrant, multi-functional heart for Carmel, IN. The beauty, harmony and diversity of the compact urban fabric of City Center and the Arts District, squares, parks, theater and Palladium demonstrate a clear understanding of true urbanity and a vision of Carmel as a great city.”

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