Come celebrate the return of public life in livable cities!

And celebrate the life and legacy of Suzanne Lennard, co-editor of this blog, and the founder of the IMCL. Join us to help share the tools and strategies necessary to change the “operating systems for growth,” in the livability laboratory of Carmel, Indiana, June 8-12

Above, Carmel’s success story will be on display with lots of detailed tools and strategies — and so will those of many other cities and towns, in a venerable peer-to-peer gathering of city leaders and researchers operating since 1985.

CARMEL, MAY 31 – It’s now just over one week to go to the 57th International Making Cities Livable conference, and the program is jam-packed with expertise on transforming declining, automobile-dominated cities, towns and suburbs into walkable, mixed, diverse places that promote health, equity, and economic opportunity for all.

Carmel not only offers us many important and detailed case[study lessons in its own right, the Mayor and his staff are also our gracious hosts and partners — and we could not be in a more livable, beautiful, welcoming place. This will be a joyous event!

The International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference series was founded in 1985 by the late Dr. Henry L. Lennard, a Viennese medical sociologist, and the late Dr Suzanne C. Lennard, an English architectural scholar. The Lennards were passionate about sharing the best evidence-based lessons of great cities and towns to improve the quality of life for all. To do it, they brought together many of the world’s most innovative and successful mayors, planners, economic development specialists, designers, developers, NGO officials, and researchers and scholars.

The mission of the IMCL has always been to raise awareness, through conferences and publications, of the effects of urban planning on livability, health and social well-being. Conferences have been held annually in the United States and Europe. They are unique in enabling city officials, architects, planners, developers, community leaders, behavioral and public health scientists, artists and others responsible for the livability of their cities to exchange experiences, ideas and expertise. The varied perspectives provide deeper understanding of the issues and generate creative solutions.

The IMCL mission statement is very simple:

Our purpose is to improve social and physical health, enhance well-being, strengthen community resilience, and increase equity and civic participation, by sharing effective tools for reshaping the built environments of our cities, suburbs and towns.

The IMCL conferences have focused special attention on the importance of making cities livable for children and the aged first, the need for public transit, bicycle lanes, and traffic calmed streets, for human scale architecture and mixed use urban fabric, for reviving the city center and creating public places where people could gather for farmers markets, festivals, outdoor cafes and community social and economic life, for ALL citizens.

As we emerge from the pandemic, there are many important lessons to assess. The pandemic has revealed the nature of our urban challenges, many of them daunting — but it has also opened up new possibilities. Please join us for this important discussion, as we celebrate the life and legacy of Suzanne and Henry, and as we inaugurate the next chapter of “The Suzanne C. and Henry L. Lennard Institute for Livable Cities,” a US 501(c)(3) non-profit.

For more information or to register, visit

Suzanne Lennard’s IMCL conference is a GO in Carmel, Indiana, June 8-12

Less than one month remains until the first major conference on cities to resume IN PERSON, in the fascinating laboratory of suburban retrofit, Carmel, Indiana. Final preparations are under way for the IMCL as most if not all attendees are expected to be vaccinated, and organizers finish planning workshops, tours, musical events, a Farmers’ Market, and much more

Scenes from our beautiful host city of Carmel, Indiana, including the spectacular Palladium Concert Hall, site of our plenary and breakout events, and the adjoining Farmers' Market.
Scenes from our beautiful host city of Carmel, Indiana, including the spectacular Palladium Concert Hall, site of our plenary and breakout events, and the adjoining Farmers’ Market.

The 57th International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference, originally scheduled for June 2020, is all set for a full conference June 8-12 of this year. Suzanne Lennard, co-founder of this blog, was also co-founder of the IMCL along with her late husband Henry. Suzanne had planned this conference prior to her death in 2019, and we will honor her memory, and Henry’s, at the conference.

The conference will address forefront challenges for cities as we emerge slowly from the pandemic, including health and well-being, resilience and adaptation, equity and affordability, smart and sustainable technologies, street and suburban retrofit, and tools and strategies to overcome barriers and advance positive change for cities, towns and suburbs.

The conference will have a special focus on walkable public spaces and their importance. This is a central aspect of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and and Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by acclamation by all 193 member countries of the United Nations. Participants in that process, and leading researchers in public space and its importance, will be speaking at the IMCL conference.

This topic has gained new urgency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when social isolation and declining urban resilience have reached near-catastrophic levels. We now recognize how important it is to develop walkable, mixed cities, where pedestrians can form social contacts and more easily access daily needs safely, in an environment that promotes their health and well-being. Effective tools are urgently needed, however, to overcome barriers and implement these improvements in our cities, towns and suburbs. That’s what we will focus on at IMCL 2021.

The IMCL conferences were begun in 1985 by Suzanne and Henry Lennard — an architectural scholar and a medical sociologist. The Lennards wanted to create a premiere gathering that brought together international leaders in city policy, planning and development, leading researchers and professionals, in actual and inspiring case study settings, in a peer-to-peer exchange of the most effective solutions to pressing urban problems.

Carmel is just outside Indianapolis, a convenient airport hub that is easily accessible with short flights from Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and other cities. A direct flight is also available from Seattle on Alaska Airlines. Carmel is 30 minutes away by taxi, shuttle, bus or car. Indianapolis is also on the Amtrak Cardinal line from Chicago to Washington. D.C.

For more information or to register, visit

BELOW: Just some of our over 50 speakers!