The Vanguard conference is an experiential urban leadership gathering of rising urban leaders working to improve cities across sectors, including urban planning, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation, sustainability, design, art and media.
Next City’s Vanguard program brings together 40 rising urban professionals working to improve cities. Solving urban problems means working across divides and breaking silos, so Vanguard convenes professionals across sectors, including architecture, art, civic technology, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation and urban planning. Each year, Next City selects applicants whose smart ideas for cities, experience in the field and ambition for the future all show great promise. Once selected as a Vanguard, the conference is free to attend. Applications close on February 17, but individuals who apply by January 24, benefit from a discounted application fee.
This year the conference will be run by Next City in partnership with the Greensboro Host Committee. Action Greensboro is the conference’s official host. Action Greensboro, as a group of six local charitable foundations that work collaboratively with the Chamber of Commerce, serves as a national model for city-based collaborative philanthropic investment in the U.S. Action Greensboro is a catalyst for public-private partnerships and serves as an intersection of government, education, nonprofit sector, entrepreneurial community, arts & culture and young professionals. In addition, Action Greensboro, The City of Greensboro, Downtown Greensboro Inc. and The Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau have signed on as sponsors of the conference.
“Action Greensboro is excited to host the 2020 Next City Vanguard Conference in our progressive, welcoming Southern city,” said Cecelia Thompson, the executive director of Action Greensboro. “We cannot wait to show off what we’ve done to help our city and our diverse residents thrive, and build strong connections with our peers from cities across the country. We look forward to working with the Next City staff to leverage our community’s unique assets. As a 2013 Vanguard, I know first-hand, the impact the Vanguard Conference makes on the individual participant and the host city.”
Selected Vanguards will take part in a full slate of activities, including curated excursions, exciting keynotes and panels, and dedicated time to bond with fellow Vanguards, starting before breakfast and continuing until after dinner, across the four days of the conference. Our alumni describe the experience as intense but rewarding, and like no other conference.
With more than 400 Vanguards participating over the last ten years, Next City has created a program that advances the nonprofit’s mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through media and events around the world.
The four-day Greensboro conference will include workshops, tours and conversations about the newest innovations and most pressing questions in urban development, infrastructure and public policy. Vanguards will have the opportunity to work with organizations in the city to devise solutions to local challenges. The program will culminate in the annual Next City Big Idea Challenge.
“If we want more equitable cities, Next City has always believed we must bring together people from across the silos that sometimes separate our movement,” says Lucas Grindley, executive director of Next City. “Next City’s journalism convenes urbanists from transportation, economic development, philanthropy, the arts, and more. And the Vanguard Conference itself is the manifestation of our journalism in action. In Greensboro, Vanguards will see first-hand an impressive example of cross-sector collaboration for change that I hope informs their work long after the conference.”