Next City Vanguard Conference

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 gathering of rising urban leaders from around the world will next meet in Lexington, KY, September 23 - 26, 2024. Applications are now live through May 6th, 2024. You can find the application on our apply page. Check out our conference announcement to learn more about this year's event. 

The Vanguard Experience

What Vanguards are Saying

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    “Vanguard Newcastle was an amazing experience. As an engineer, it was important for me to see how urban designs are seen from the community’s perspective. I left Vanguard with new knowledge and life-long friends.”

    Subeh Chowdhury, PhD, BE(Civil)
    Vanguard Australia
    Lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland

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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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    “The Vanguard Conference was wonderfully exhausting and equally rewarding. The flood of new information and bold ideas has reinforced my passion for my own work and for my vision and passion for cities.”

    Michael Kaufman
    Vanguard 2014
    Director of Special Projects and Civic Investment, Health & Hospital Corporation

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    “Exploring the intersectionality of culture, arts, science, urban planning and the like as a Vanguard is compelling and intensely invigorating. It's an explosive kick of robust learning and sharing that challenges perspectives all the while seeking out creative and tangible solutions for the todays of tomorrow.”

    Danica Monét
    Vanguard 2016
    Creative Director & Interaction Designer,

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    “I find everything about the Vanguard experience to be a constant source of inspiration. Over those days, I found myself challenged to think differently and more analytically about issues that impact our cities. At the end, I left the conference feeling re-energized and ready for action!”

    William Christopher Tate
    Vanguard 2014
    Founder and President of TateSpace LLC and
    Commissioner, City of Paterson Historic Preservation Commission

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    “As a member of the 2013 class that convened in Cleveland, and having returned as an alumni for 2014 in Chattanooga, I can’t say enough good things about Vanguard. It is an intimate and engaging experience that has offered me so many returns both times I have attended.

    Mallory B.E. Baches
    Vanguard 2013

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    “Vanguard Montréal was a gestalt moment – a space where the sum total the people, brain trust, experiences and practice effectuated personal and community change.” 

    Stephanie Thomas
    Vanguard 2017
    Director, Programs & Small Business Services, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif)

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    “At Vanguard, you’ll meet artists and filmmakers, attorneys and financiers, coders and game developers. 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 and Director, Condesa Union

Past Vanguard Cities

Vanguard Title Sponsor

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