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Newark Is Next City’s First-Ever Regional Vanguard City

Next City’s gathering of rising urban leaders will meet in Newark, New Jersey, June 26-29, 2019, to tackle challenges related to the New York Metropolitan Area, in Next City’s first-ever regional Vanguard conference.

“Hearing directly from Newark’s impressive agents for change about real solutions will be an eye-opening experience,” said Lucas Grindley, Next City’s executive director. “Perhaps most invaluable, though, is the bond that Vanguards take with them. Our Vanguards support each other and their work long after the conference ends.”

“That got us wondering: What would happen if Vanguards’ homes weren’t spread across the world?” Grindley said. “What if they return to the same city or at least the same region? We hope this first-ever regional conference creates a network for these rising leaders that will not only strengthen their resolve, but also their home.”

With its deep history as an economic powerhouse and an evolving identity as a business incubator as well as a center for arts and culture, Newark is the ideal anchor city for a regional Vanguard conference. The Vanguard program will be run by Next City in partnership with the host organization, Newark Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the ongoing economic revitalization of Newark.

“Newark has always demonstrated its ability to evolve and match the needs of a burgeoning city, and leadership development is no exception,” said Aisha Glover, Newark Alliance President and CEO. “Newark continues to experience record economic growth and recognition as a destination city, a model for equity and a tech hub. As such, we are excited to partner with Next City to bring the Vanguard summit to strengthen both seasoned and emerging leaders and help propel them to the national forefront of urban leadership,” said Glover. “I have every confidence that this next cohort of Vanguard leadership will build the necessary skills and grow their capacity to propel Newark into an inspired, cutting edge and model city.”

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.

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 400 Vanguards participating over the last nine 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 three-day Newark 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 Newark to devise solutions to local challenges. The program will culminate in the annual Next City Big Idea Challenge.

Applications for the 2019 Newark Vanguard conference will be open to candidates living and working in Newark and the surrounding region — a geographical boundary referred to as the New York City Metropolitan Area. The application process will run from February 19, 2019, through March 25, 2019. The application fee is $35, but a reduced early bird fee of $25 is available from February 19 through March 4. Visit our application page to apply.

Next City is simultaneously working on plans for the next national Vanguard conference. Stay tuned for that announcement.

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