Carmel to host 2021 International Making Cities Livable Conference at The Center for the Performing Arts

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Date: March 24, 2021

Contact: Nancy Heck (317)571-2474

CARMEL, IN – The City of Carmel will host the 57th International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference June 8-12 at the Center for the Performing Arts, welcoming about 300 planners, designers, developers, social scientists and experts in public health from around the world. The five-day conference, originally scheduled for 2020 but canceled due to the global pandemic, will focus on Carmel’s transformation from a suburb built for vehicles to a walkable, diverse, thriving and livable edge city.

Attendees will include an impressive list of some of the most accomplished and inspiring mayors and other officials, including former mayors of Freiburg, Germany and Bristol, UK, and current mayors such as Porto, Portugal’s Rui Moreira. They will gather in City Center, the Palladium, Hotel Carmichael and other venues in Carmel to study the effective new tools and strategies that have brought about positive changes to Carmel. The conference topic is From Sprawl to Neighborhoods: Livable Cities (and Suburbs) for ALL.

IMCL conferences have been held annually in Europe and the United States in Italian cities Venice, Rome and Siena; London, England; Austrian cities of Vienna and Salzburg; Freiburg, German; Charleston, SC; Santa Fe, NM; Savannah, GA; San Francisco, CA; and others. The IMCL was founded in 1985 by Henry L. Lennard, Ph.D., Professor of Medical Sociology and Social Psychology at the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco; and Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard, Ph.D. (Arch.), Professor of Social Aspects of Architecture and Urban Design, University of California, Berkeley.

“We are excited to be given this unique and rare opportunity to share our success story on an international stage. Much the same way we learned by studying the great livable cities in Europe, we hope others can learn from the lessons we have learned over the past 20 years of creating distinct, mixed-use, human scale areas to which people are drawn and in which they can thrive,” said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased attention is focused on America’s suburbs and how they are handling issues of health, equity, mobility and livability. Innovators like Carmel, Indiana, are showing the way to a new generation of better, more livable ‘burbs.

Conference organizer Michael Mehaffy, Director of the Lennard Institute for Livable Cities, says the Carmel conference will examine timely topics such as neighborhood health, social capital, green cities, affordable housing, active mobility, gentrification, displacement and homelessness, age-friendly cities, resilience and adaptation, and other related issues. In a timely nod to current events, the conference will also assess the emerging lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic for cities and suburbs.

“It’s important to share these 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,” said Mehaffy.

Mayor Brainard agrees: “This conference is about bringing together the ‘doers’ – a blend of academic leaders, elected officials, city planners, engineers and developers, non-profit leaders, and citizens, not only from across the United States, but also internationally. Attendees will have the unparalleled opportunity to hear from all corners of the globe.”

To learn more about the conference, visit the IMCL website.