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Meet Our Vanguard — 8 Emerging Urban Leaders Making a Difference

Check out these eight Next City Vanguard members spurring change and transforming their communities.

Credit: Erica Sachse

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Vanguard is Next City’s annual gathering of the nation’s best and brightest young urban advocates. Applications to be part of this year’s Vanguard are due by April 26, 2013. To learn more about the program, click here.

Emily DoerrHostel Detroit
Putting up a fight against the haters and laying down a welcome mat for the lovers and the curious, Emily Doerr invites you to vacation in the Motor City with accommodations provided by her not-for-profit, grassroots Hostel Detroit. But this isn’t an average hostel, Emily believes Detroit is a hidden treasure and she is leading the journey of discovery. Upon arrival, every visitor embarks on a Detroit orientation tour and is given access to a plethora of resources to satisfy their every intellectual craving.

David AlpertGreater Greater Washington
When product management at Google wasn’t enough for David, he hit the ground running all the way to the nation’s capital. As Founder and Editor in Chief of Greater Greater Washington, he owns the newsroom and brings urban policy and affairs to the forefront of local and national debate. David, and his media site, are invaluable partners in continuing the conversation around changing our cities.

Kari FultonEnvironmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative
Kari is very concerned about the weather. To be more specific, she worries about the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, oceanic circulation and long-lasting climate change. So she decided to do something about it. As co-founder of, an online media network for burgeoning environmentalists of color, and the Interim Director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, Kari is giving a microphone and a platform for the country’s youth to voice their environmental concerns and participate in action for change.

Lyz CraneArtPlace
This creative tastemaker is transforming the urban experience with strategic place-making to bring vibrancy and diversity to communities all over the United States. Through collaboration with federal government agencies, national foundations and banks, ArtPlace drives holistic growth through ingenuity and the community benefits of public arts projects and programs.

David RandFarmer’s Market Coalition
Beginning his career as the manager of almost 100 commercial salmon fishing vessels in Alaska, David is an expert on the food chain and how to make it more beneficial for every living being involved. He is currently the Farm Forager to the Green City Market in Chicago, the only year-round farmers market in the Windy City, and serves on the Board of Directors for the national Farmer’s Market Coalition. He is a superhero on a quest for farm-to-pantry community building.

Cara BertronPlaceEconomics
Cara is on a mission to revitalize the forgotten city and get it right – so it will never be overlooked again. As head of the Rightsizing Cities Initiative through PlaceEconomics, she is regenerating historic residential neighborhoods, CBDs and neighborhood commercial corridors to their proper function: incredible and inspiring places to live, work, and play.

Sean M. BrownYoung Urban Leaders
Sean is breeding his own army of urban vanguards to march all over the status quo in Camden, New Jersey. Young Urban Leaders provides training, support networks and service projects to the next generation of visionaries. Valuing service and leadership above all else, Sean is building community capacity as his urban leaders tackle the most critical issues facing urban neighborhoods today.

Danya ShermanFriends of the Highline
The New York High Line has transformed the way cities envision the future of obsolete industrial infrastructure and public green space. Spanning a mile across and 30 feet above Manhattan’s West Side street grid, the linear park provides programming, recreation space, and employment opportunities to all New Yorkers. Danya aims to build a diverse, and inclusive community around the High Line as Director of Programs, Education and Community Engagement.

Explore the Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, described as “the High Line on steroids” by Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, in this week’s Forefront story.

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Tags: next city vanguard

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