Urban Studio Students Present at International Conference

Adrian Steward presenting work at Auburn's Urban Studio

The International Making Cities Livable Conference (IMCL) is a beacon for professionals, scholars and activists dedicated to creating healthier, inclusive and more sustainable cities.

For this year’s conference, an abstract summarizing the 2024 fifth-year Urban Studio students’ work on the Birmingham Parking Study was accepted for presentation. The conference took place during the weekend of April 28, and the students delivered a summary of both the parking study and how their individual thesis work expanded on aspects of the study.

What is the International Making Cities Livable Conference?

Founded on the principle that urban environments should enhance the quality of life, the International Making Cities Livable Conference has evolved into a crucial junction for exchanging groundbreaking ideas in urban planning, architecture, and community development. This conference brings together an array of professionals, including urban planners, architects, city officials and academics, to discuss challenges and explore solutions aimed at making cities more livable. The core of the conference revolves around themes such as sustainable urban design, social inclusivity and the psychological impact of urban living.

Jimmy Ramsey at IMCL Conference 2024
Jimmy Ramsey
Jeremy Daniel at IMCL Conference 2024
Jeremy Daniel
Jack McMullen at IMCL Conference 2024
Jack McMullen

Why It’s Special for Students to Present Their Research Here

The acceptance of a student group to present at the 2024 IMCL Conference is significant. Typically dominated by seasoned professionals and academics, the inclusion of students highlights a refreshing shift towards recognizing and valuing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas.

For students, presenting at such a prestigious event provides exposure to industry leaders and an opportunity to contribute to meaningful discourse on urban livability. It’s a chance to test their ideas in a different academic arena and to network with potential mentors and collaborators who can help propel their careers forward.

Urban Studio Director Alex Krumdieck at IMCL Conference 2024
Urban Studio Director Alex Krumdieck at IMCL Conference 2024

This was the first time Urban Studio Director Alex Krumdieck ‘86 submitted students’ work for presentation at a conference. Since IMCL rarely features student work, he was unsure if the abstract would be accepted. Once he received notice, the next hurdle was to make sure the students were ready. For this, Krumdieck engaged a presentation coach to help them prepare.

In addition to working at their internships, preparing for their thesis presentations, and gearing up for graduation, the students dove into their presentation preparation. For the six weeks prior, they worked with their presentation coach on how to best organize their work into a cohesive and compelling story geared toward the audience at IMCL.

Jeremy Daniel at Auburn's Urban Studio
Jeremy Daniel at Auburn’s Urban Studio
Urban Studio students and guests
Urban Studio students receive feedback from guests after practice presentations.

Conferences can be an important part of a student’s educational experience. As Krumdieck explained, “These kinds of opportunities teach students how to clearly convey their research to an audience and they learn how to showcase their work. Our students were able to take their research and distill it into a clear vision that resonated with the IMCL audience.”

In fact, Steve Mouzon, Principal at Miami’s Studio Sky & New Urban Guild, tweeted from the audience:

“Taking in the Auburn architecture students’ presentation of walkability (and lack of such) in Birmingham at #IMCLspring24 and the approach they’re taking bodes well for both their futures and that of the program. Starting with urbanism first & what makes it stronger. Well done!”

This year’s conference provided insight and inspiration, and a good number of the other presentations touched on the Urban Studio students’ topics. This reinforced the value of their CADC and Urban Studio education as not only theoretical but as real-world work. As these students presented their research, they learned that they were not just contributing to a conference—they were getting to see how what they had been learning was shaping the future of urban living.

Congratulations on a job well done Adrian Steward, Camille Lewellyn, Jeremy Daniel, Jack McMullen and Jimmy Ramsey!