Next City Vanguard Conference

The Vanguard is an annual experiential urban leadership gathering of the best and brightest young urban leaders working to improve cities across sectors, including urban planning, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation, sustainability, design, art and media. Each year, Next City selects 40 applicants whose bright ideas for cities, experience in the field and ambition for the future all show great promise to become members of the new Vanguard class.

Host the Vanguard in your city.

Serving as a host to Next City’s annual Vanguard Conference is a unique opportunity for a city to show off its latest urban development projects with the country’s smartest emerging leaders and get ideas from bright young thinkers. In addition to organizing the conference, Next City brings media coverage and attention to your city.

Benefits of being a host city

  • Conference
  • Public Events
  • Editorial Coverage
  • New Networks
  • Social Media Buzz
  • Exposure to New Ideas

Bring the best and brightest
talent to your town

Nurturing future leaders

Vanguard members are leaders in government, urban planning, finance, art and culture, community development, entrepreneurship and DIY urbanism. Since participating in the Vanguard conference, many have gone on to become senior leaders in their cities, companies and organizations.

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    “I encourage any city to pitch to host future Vanguard events as they will raise the city’s profile and draw on the creativity and experience of some of the smartest young urban thinkers to address local urban challenges with a fresh pair of eyes and limitless zeal.”

    Jamie Alderslade
    Vanguard 2014
    Director of Communications and Policy
    Citi Community Development

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    “No other conference provides such an in-depth look at the people, programs, and ideas that are powering local economies and positive change within cities.”

    Paul Supawanich
    Vanguard 2013
    Senior Associate
    Nelson\Nygaard
    (Transportation Planning)

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    “Vanguard gave me a new perspective on urban affairs and re-affirmed the need for diversity in thought and lived experience in the urban affairs field.”

    R. Denise Everson
    Vanguard 2014
    Sustainability Liaison
    District of Columbia Housing Authority

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    “Vanguard will reinvent your view of who is shaping our urban environment. By the conference’s end, you’ll have a new optimism for the future of our cities and a new network of professionals who will help you make your own impact.”

    Peter Smith
    Vanguard 2014
    Policy Advisor for the U.S. Social Security Administration

What we are looking for in a host

  • Engaged host committee
  • Venues and Contacts
  • Tour Coordination
  • Idea Generation
  • Local Knowledge
  • Financial Sponsorship

Previous Hosts

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Philadelphia
  • St. Louis
  • Cleveland
  • Chattanooga

“Hosting the Vanguard conference in Chattanooga was seen as a local investment in talent. The energy created among the Vanguards and Chattanooga’s own urban leaders was palpable; you could feel the shared sense of purpose and passion for city improvement. We’d love to host the conference here again!”
— Lisa Pinckney Flint / Footprint Foundation

How to apply

  • Step One

    Find the committed urban advocates in your city and form a host committee. Think up tours, venues and projects you’d share with Vanguards.

  • Step Two

    Determine the financial and logistical support your committee can provide to attract the Vanguard conference.

  • Step Three

    Apply to the RFP by downloading the form below and submitting an application by September 22, 2014.

Want to know more? Get in touch.
Email moira@nextcity.org