37th Conference in Siena

37th International
Making Cities Livable Conference on


Palazzo Pubblico
Siena, Italy
June 15-19, 2003

The Siena conference emphasizes the significant role of squares and public spaces in the life of the city, and recommends policies (in planning, architecture, urban design, architecture) that promote well-being.


The program on "The European Square" will:

  • Feature some of Europe’s most interesting squares
  • Focus on unique artistic and aesthetic qualities of individual squares
  • Increase understanding of the significance of the town square
  • Highlight the relationship between built form and social life
  • Create collaboration among cities with squares
  • Encourage historical and architectural research on European squares
  • Examine the implications of the European square for North American cities & towns


Siena offers a magical experience: with its incomparable shell-shaped Piazza il Campo, the city opens its heart and embraces Sienese and visitors alike. The Piazza is the place for meetings, civic life, festivals and celebrations.

The "effects of good government" portrayed in 1340 by Lorenzetti on the walls of Siena’s City Hall, and specified then in design guidelines, are still evident today in Siena’s ochre-toned brick Piazza and palazzi, its intact urban fabric, clear architectural identity (DNA) and rich mix of building uses.

Siena was the first Italian city to be pedestrianized, and nurtures its unique heritage and way of life. Its distinct neighborhoods ensure a strong sense of community, displayed in Piazza il Campo in the historic Palio festival.

Conference participants will be able to learn from Siena’s public places and community events, visit neighborhoods, and observe preparations for Palio.

Plenary & Panel Sessions

General Themes

  • Socially Sustainable Town Development
  • New Urban Neighborhoods
  • Community Participation in Planning
  • Curbing Suburban Sprawl
  • Teaching the Livable City
  • Architecture & City Identity (DNA)
  • The City & the Square

Learning from the European Square

  • Learning from Siena
  • The European Square/Marketplace: Case Studies
  • Principles for Town Square Design
  • The Square as Community Catalyst
  • Tourism and the Town Square
  • New Architecture and the Historic Square
  • The European Square and Democracy
  • The Square, the City and the Region
  • The "European" Square around the World