Apply for Vanguard

The Vanguard conference welcomes entrepreneurs, community developers, activists, artists, designers, urban planners and sustainability experts — anyone committed to improving cities. Vanguard is a unique opportunity to meet rising urban leaders working to improve cities across sectors.

How It Works

Next City’s gathering of rising urban leaders from around the world will be announced soon and applications will open in February 2024. 

The conference is free to attend, but you must apply. The application process is competitive and Next City is only able to select 40 leaders to become Vanguards. We strongly encourage early and mid-career professionals to apply and there is no age limit. All participants must pay for their own travel and accommodations, however, a travel stipend may be available to some participants.

Why You Should Apply

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    “If you want to be challenged and grow intellectually and professionally in an environment with like minded individuals ahead of their game and striving for urban change then you need to apply for Vanguard.”

    Ifeoma Ebo
    Vanguard 2016
    Strategic Initiative Specialist, New York City Department of Design and Construction

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    “Vanguard has been an invaluable asset for my professional development by growing my network more than I ever thought possible and inspiring me to think about cities differently.”

    Juan Sebastian Mendive
    Vanguard 2015
    Principal/Owner, Urban Strategy Lab

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    “The immersive programming offered during the conference marks only the beginning of the Vanguard experience. If you care about the future of cities and want to collaborate with civic leaders and entrepreneurs from across the world, there's no better alumni network to join.”

    Cristina Garza
    Vanguard 2017
    Program Director, Mission Economic Development Corporation

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    “Vanguard Newcastle was a melting pot of different opinions and a great learning experience to draw from the energy and expertise of great young urban minds from all across the world.”

    Chris Patfield
    Vanguard Australia
    Urbanist, Ethos Urban

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    “Vanguard intersects arts, culture, tech, business, urban planning and sociology, which broadened my horizons and made me realize that partners are abound in the community development and civic engagement process. I was happy to bring back that mindset to my community and work.”

    Sruti Basu
    Vanguard Australia
    Director of Community Programs, FutureHeights Community Development Corporation 

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    “Vanguard is more than a conference, more than just another experience. It is an opportunity for you to learn what it takes to change community and, ultimately, the world.”

    David R. McGhee
    Vanguard 2016
    Program Director, The Skillman Foundation

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    “Vanguard is unlike any other conference in that it curates an instant community among participants and creates opportunities for them to learn from each other, as well as the host city. You return home not just with new practices and perspectives, but also with deep connections to a network of committed colleagues working across the spectrum of urban issues.”

    Ashley Atkinson
    Vanguard 2017
    Performance Manager, Los Angeles Department of City Planning

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    “There's something truly special about colliding with a group of people who are not from the same place, but are united in their desire to learn from others and share the stories of our daily grind with the rest of the world.”

    Rohit Malhotra
    Vanguard 2016
    Founder and Executive Director, Center for Civic Innovation

Learn more about the conference and our growing list of Vanguard alumni. Have questions? Email us.

Apply here.

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