Before mass tourism transforms Venice into a dead museum, we would do well to study the genius of the Venetian campo. Not only the Venetians, but the whole world needs the Venetian campo, and the social life it supports, to survive and flourish.

The term "sustainability" has become ubiquitous, and yet, the focus is almost always on the environment. The other dimensions of sustainability - social and economic - are glossed over or even ignored. IMCL holds that a socially sustainable neighborhood needs to promote equitably each individual's social, mental and physical well-being, and the community's cultural, and social well-being. To achieve a socially sustainable city requires equity across neighborhoods and ethnic groups, and improved social health for future generations. Thus, social sustainability has powerful implications for city planning and urban design.

By Jessica Engelmann

When I moved to Portland five years ago, I moved because I was looking to put down roots.  At the time, I lived in Washington DC, but I was contemplating a move to Chicago.  I had spent a decade hopping from city to city, and it was time to sit still, at least for a little while. 

Gentrification continues to be a hot topic in our quest to create livable cities. While much of the discussion focuses on homogenization, racial tensions, and property values, commonly overlooked are the health effects of dramatic neighborhood change, such as gentrification. What is happening to those who are being pushed out or marginalized within their original community? How does all of this change affect their health?

In his thoughtful and perceptive article, We’re All Connected: Too bad more is not necessarily the same as better, Scott Doyon questions whether our ubiquitous “social media” strengthen our connections to one another.

While social media offer innumerable pleasures and benefits, there are side effects that we prefer to deny. We do so at our peril.

By Richard J. Jackson, MD, MPH

In medicine, when a patient is getting sicker despite increasing medicine and treatment, the doctor must find why the therapy seems useless.  What else is going on? What can work better?  One of the first things a medical student learns is: “Make the (Right) Diagnosis”.  If you are not correctly treating the underlying disease, you make the patient worse.

How satisfying to find a research report that verifies what we have all believed, and supported congressional funding for:  roadway design improvements (sidewalks, bike lanes, stop signs, traffic-calming, crosswalks, signage, lighting, etc) do indeed reduce school-age pedestrian injuries. Data are important in these times of limited funds and fiscal skeptics. The report by Charles DiMaggio and Guohua Li that went online in Pediatrics on January 14, 2013 provides sound evidence that implementation of the Safe Routes to School program in New York City has contributed to a 44% decrease in pedestrian injury in school-age children during school-travel hours[i].

Strasbourg, for centuries considered the “Crossroads of Europe”, is located in the Alsace Region of France, close to Freiburg. In the Middle Ages, it’s function as an important European meeting place was expressed in the innumerable squares and market places that supported international exchange. Today, Strasbourg’s unique identity finds expression in its role as seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament.

Of special note for making cities livable are the major improvements in livability that Strasbourg has achieved in the last 15 years, including its exemplary light rail system that runs through the city center and out to suburban areas, and the city’s wealth of traffic-free squares within a fine-grained, mixed-use urban fabric. In 1994, IMCL awarded Strasbourg the IMCL City of Vision Award. We are proud to work with the City of Strasbourg to bring participants to this city for the "Cities of Vision Study Tour" to learn from Strasbourg’s continuing leadership in these aspects of livability.

The City of Freiburg is often called Germany's "ecological capital" and has been recognized internationally as one of the world’s most livable, sustainable and child-friendly cities. In 1993, IMCL awarded the City of Freiburg the IMCL City of Vision Award. Since then, Freiburg has received numerous awards for its leadership in sustainable transportation planning, promotion of walking and biking, traffic calming mechanisms, human scale mixed-use development, renewable energy, protection of nature, and sustainability. Today, we are proud to work with the City of Freiburg to further disseminate the innovations and improvements in livability and sustainability the City has achieved in recent years by organizing the 2013 City of Vision Study Tour to Freiburg, September 27 – October 4, 2013.

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