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International Making Cities Livable (IMCL)

International Making Cities Livable (IMCL), our sister organization, 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.

Following the passing of Suzanne Lennard in September 2019, we, the IMCL Board of Stewards, are honored to continue this tradition through the Suzanne C. and Henry L. Lennard Institute for Livable Cities, a public benefit corporation with charitable status under US 501(c)(3) rules. We are grateful to Mayor Jim Brainard, a leading member of the Board of Stewards, for his support in developing institutional resources for the continued mission of the Lennard Institute and the IMCL conference series. Dr. Michael Mehaffy, also a long-time member of the Board of Stewards and collaborator with Suzanne Lennard, serves as Executive Director. 

Ax:son Johnson Foundation

Urban / City Research, our partner, is a program within the Ax:son Johnson Foundation of Stockholm, Sweden that has been running since 2002. The overall motto is The Human City and the program aims to spread knowledge about how to build cities that put people at the center. Despite ambitious ideas for creating a new society for a new era, modernist urban planning that dominated the post-war period came to focus on technical rather than humanistic aspects.

2017 edition of students in KTH's Master's program funded by the foundation.

The program currently supports a 2-year master's degree in sustainable urban design at Lund School of Architecture, a 1-year master's degree in Urban Studies at KTH, a research center on the city's public spaces (Center for the Future of Places). Furthermore, a summer school in applied classical architecture (4 weeks) is funded in collaboration with the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism (INTBAU) .

During the years 2002-2007, a large number of seminars were held in Stockholm and three international conferences: New Urbanism - An Introduction to the Art of City Building (2002), Good Mixed-Use for the 21st Century (2004) and Swedish Grace - The Forgotten Modern Movement in Architecture and Town Planning (2005) .

In 2007, AxSud was established , a center for sustainable urban design at Lund University, with the aim of financing and supporting the two-year master's program Sustainable Urban Design . To date, 125 students have graduated.

In 2013, a collaboration was started with UN Habitat under the name The Future of Places, which aimed to bring together researchers and practitioners from around the world to discuss the importance of the city's public spaces. Indirectly, this was a criticism of too much focus being placed on the city's buildings and infrastructure and too little on the city as a living environment. The foundation funded three major global conferences as well as a number of regional conferences during the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 and gathered a total of 1,500 people representing 700 organizations, 100 countries and 250 cities.

This strong representativeness was widely heard in the UN system and Future of Places' main message about the value of public spaces came to greatly influence the writings in The New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Target 11.7 on Public Space).

Centre for the Future of Places

The Centre for the Future of Places is an international research hub based at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. It is focused upon public space and public life, and the human quality of cities and towns. It is an outgrowth of the Future of Places conference series organized by the Urban / City Research project of the Ax:son Johnson Foundation, and a partner with UN-Habitat in translating research into action for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, the outcome document of the Habitat III conference, adopted by acclamation by all 193 countries of the United Nations.  Read more about our research at

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