Host the Next City Vanguard Conference

Is your city the next Vanguard city?

Vanguard is an annual leadership gathering of rising urban leaders working to improve cities.

Serving as a host to Next City’s annual Vanguard conference is a unique opportunity for a city to show off its latest urban development projects while getting to know the next generation of urban leaders. In addition to organizing the conference, Next City brings media coverage and attention to your city.

Benefits of being a host city

  • International publicity
  • News coverage
  • Experiential education
  • Community building
  • Social media buzz
  • Big Idea execution

Bring the best and brightest talent to your town

Vanguard members are leaders in government, urban planning, finance, art and culture, community development, entrepreneurship and DIY urbanism. Since participating in the Vanguard conference, many have gone on to become senior leaders in their cities, companies and organizations.

  • {image:alt_text}

    “The Next City Vanguard Conference is a tremendous opportunity to engage with emerging leaders committed to affecting sustainable and more equitable change in global urban communities.”

    Gabrielle Horton
    Vanguard 2016
    Rackham Merit Fellow & Candidate for Master’s in Public Policy, University of Michigan

  • {image:alt_text}

    “'An amazing opportunity to connect with 39 other young urban leaders, all dedicated to building better cities. The Next City Vanguard Conference is a heavy dose of inspiration and a strong network of passionate individuals!”

    Julie Favreau
    Vanguard 2016
    Project Manager, Société d'habitation et de développement de Montréal

  • {image:alt_text}

    “Participating in Next City's Vanguard program not only provided me an opportunity to highlight and apply the skills I have learned over my career, but it also provided an amazing network of bright thinkers, leaders, and innovators whom I continually learn from and am forever connected.”

    Marita Garrett
    Vanguard Australia
    Mayor, Wilkinsburg, PA

  • {image:alt_text}

    “I encourage any city to pitch to host future Vanguard events as they will raise the city’s profile and draw on the creativity and experience of some of the smartest young urban thinkers to address local urban challenges with a fresh pair of eyes and limitless zeal.”

    Jamie Alderslade
    Vanguard 2014
    Director of Communications and Policy
    Citi Community Development

  • {image:alt_text}

    “Vanguard was an incredibly unique way to meet and work with other urban leaders from across the country and the world — a fantastic experience!”

    Jacqueline Burton
    Vanguard 2016
    Program Associate, Ford Foundation

  • {image:alt_text}

    “No other conference provides such an in-depth look at the people, programs, and ideas that are powering local economies and positive change within cities.”

    Paul Supawanich
    Vanguard 2013
    Senior Associate
    (Transportation Planning)

  • {image:alt_text}

    “As a Novocastrian, I applied to be a Vanguard because I am passionate about my hometown and wanted to collaborate with others to imagine how great this city can be. Being a Vanguard gave me a new platform to engage with civic leaders whose minds were open to creative solutions.”

    Monica Gibson
    Vanguard Australia
    Director Hunter Region, NSW Department of Planning and Environment

  • {image:alt_text}

    “The experience taught me that there is so much that can be done in a city that’s looking for change.”

    Lou Huang
    Vanguard 2013
    Lead Product Designer, Streetmix

What we are looking for in a host

  • Engaged host committee
  • Venues and contacts
  • Tour coordination
  • Idea generation
  • Local knowledge
  • Financial sponsorship

Previous Hosts

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Philadelphia
  • St. Louis
  • Cleveland
  • Chattanooga
  • Reno
  • Houston
  • Montreal
  • Newcastle, Australia
  • New Orleans
  • Newark
  • Sacramento
  • Greensboro
  • El Paso
  • Richmond

“Hosting the Vanguard conference in Chattanooga was seen as a local investment in talent. The energy created among the Vanguards and Chattanooga’s own urban leaders was palpable; you could feel the shared sense of purpose and passion for city improvement. We’d love to host the conference here again!”
— Lisa Pinckney Flint / Footprint Foundation

How to apply

  • Step One

    Find the committed urban advocates in your city and form a host committee. Think up tours, venues and projects you’d share with Vanguards.

  • Step Two

    Determine the financial and logistical support your committee can provide to attract the Vanguard conference.

  • Step Three

    Email Sara Schuenemann

Want to know more? Get in touch.

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×
has donated ! Thank you 🎉