Over the years, IMCL has recognized cities that have achieved excellence in city livability, and outstanding individuals for major contributions to promoting city livability at a national or international scale. In 2007, IMCL introduced the Design Awards Competition to recognize cities and firms that achieved excellence in specific planning and design categories.
Freiburg, Germany received the IMCL City of Vision Award in 1993 for their commitment to principles of livability and sustainability in all planning and urban design issues. The creation of an extensive pedestrian zone in the old city, enhanced with paving, streams, a daily farmers market, and appropriate human-scale, mixed-use architecture ensures the city's vitality. Dedication to promoting walking, biking, and public transit links to surrounding neighborhoods and cities has dramatically reduced car use. Planning coordination among cities and towns in the Germany-France-Switzerland Upper Rhine region established sustainable regional planning principles that curbed sprawl and big box retail, thus ensuring the cities' economic vitality and protecting agricultural productivity.
Other cities that have received the IMCL Livable Cities Award include: Ravensburg, Germany; Strasbourg, France; Tuebingen, Germany; Portland, OR, USA
Dietmar Hahlweg, Mayor of Erlangen, Germany from 1972 to 1996, received the IMCL Award in 1991. When first running for election, his slogan was "Green in Erlangen", a promise that he fulfilled by making Erlangen a model ecological city. From replacing asphalt streets with paving set in sand to permit rain percolation, to a groundbreaking recycling system, district heating, and city-wide traffic calming, Erlangen led the way. Mayor Hahlweg's greatest passion was to promote the bicycle as a means of transportation, creating a bicycle network of 175 kilometers through the city.
HRH The Prince of Wales received the first IMCL "Lewis Mumford Award" in 1991 for championing city livability and appropriate human-scale architecture. He called for architecture that enhanced local character, and for planning practices that prioritized quality of everyday life over movement of vehicles and separation of functions. While incurring the wrath of architects who see architecture as a form of self-expression, and planners who believe in "modern" zoning principles, the Prince raised the public debate to a national and international level.
Other individuals who have received IMCL Awards include: Congressman Earl Blumenauer (Lewis Mumford Award); Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Charleston, SC, USA; Mayor Bob Cools, Antwerp, Belgium; Mayor Daniel Kemmis, Missoula, MT, USA; Richard Louv (first Jane Jacobs Award); Richard J. Jackson, MD, MPH (first Henry L. Lennard Award); Wolf von Eckardt; William H. Whyte; Rod Hackney, FRIBA
In 2013, two IMCL Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Awards were awarded to Mayor James Brainard of Carmel, IN, and to Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City.
In 2014, the IMCL Lewis Mumford Award was awarded to Mayor George Ferguson and Bristol City Council.
In 2015, the IMCL Lewis Mumford Award was presented to Jan Gehl for his inspirational leadership in improving the quality of urban life in cities.
In 2018 the International Urban Design Award was presented to Architect Maxim Atayants, of St. Petersburg, Russia.
In 2009 the IMCL Urban Plazas Design Award was presented to Portland Parks & Recreation and Peter Walker Partners for the development of Jamison Square, Portland in recognition of the sophisticated integration of flexible spaces for civic activities, gathering and socializing, with imaginative water and park elements for play and recreation.
Jamison Square supports individual uses, meetings, social gatherings, entertainment and festivals (e.g. Bastille Day). The focal element is the Spring, a low waterfall that gushes out of the stone layers to create a shallow tidal pool. In the summer, the pool attracts hundreds of children, while families relax on the lawn. During the year, the café and restaurant terraces on the north side support community life. An ice cream parlor, toy store, and other shops, services and restaurants nearby generate activity on the street, and the streetcar on either side enhances accessibility.