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New Orleans Is Next City’s 2018 Vanguard City

Next City’s annual gathering of the best and brightest rising urban leaders will meet in New Orleans, Sept. 12-15, 2018, to tackle challenges in the nation’s jazz capital.

“Next City is thrilled to select New Orleans as the site for our Vanguard 2018 conference,” said Tom Dallessio, Next City’s president, CEO and publisher. “This forward-thinking city will provide the ideal setting to inspire brilliant and committed rising urban leaders, and will help these leaders turn that inspiration into positive change in New Orleans and around the world.

With its vibrant cultural heritage, New Orleans is an ideal place for the 2018 Next City Vanguard conference. (To learn more about how the city is tackling an urbanist agenda, read our recent coverage of The Big Easy’s bike-share launch, its reclamation of public space and its commitment to equity and affordable housing.)

The Vanguard program will be run by Next City and the host organization NOLABA, the official economic development agency for the city of New Orleans.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the Next City Vanguard conference to New Orleans in September,” said Quentin Messer, president and CEO of NOLABA. “We expect New Orleans’ creative spirit, engaged people and vibrant culture to inspire and energize attendees as the city has for millions over the past 300 years. Positive change occurs when a committed few challenge preconceptions, and we are delighted to host Next City in this global effort.”

The Next City 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. The conference is free, and there are a limited number of stipends to cover travel costs for qualified applicants.

Past Vanguards have worked for the Obama administration, founded successful city-focused startups such as Ioby and Fundrise, held municipal office, and climbed the ranks of influential organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the Urban Institute, Citi Group, Code for America, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Transportation Alternatives, Smart Growth America, and the University of Chicago. Many come back to participate in subsequent conferences. (To learn more about our Vanguard network, visit our interactive Vanguard map.) With more than 300 Vanguards participating over the last eight 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 2018 three-day 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 New Orleans organizations to devise solutions to local challenges. The program will culminate in the annual Next City Big Idea Challenge. The winning idea will be funded by Next City and implemented in New Orleans in the year following the conference.

Applications for the 2018 Vanguard conference will be open from April 1, 2018, through May 31, 2018. The only requirement is that applicants must be a rising urban leader. The application fee is $35, but a reduced early bird fee of $25 is available until April 21st. Visit our application page in the coming weeks to apply.

If you think your city would be a great place to host the 2019 Vanguard conference, please visit our RFP page and let us know you are interested.

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