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Applications Are Now Open for Next City’s 2020 Greensboro Vanguard Conference

Next City announces the opening of the application process for our 2020 Vanguard conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. This conference is open to all national and international applicants. A group of 40 rising urban leaders will tackle challenges in North Carolina’s third-largest city from May 11 to May 14, 2020.

The Vanguard program will be run by Next City in partnership with the Greensboro Host Committee, and the official host of the conference is Action Greensboro. Among the program’s sponsors are Action Greensboro, the City of Greensboro, Downtown Greensboro Inc. and the Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

With a rich history in the textile industry, Greensboro has begun a transformation to attract businesses in nanotechnology and transportation. Its vibrant downtown is home to new parks, museums and art galleries, and an eclectic mix of makerspaces, restaurants and shops. The heart of downtown is also home to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, formerly the Woolworth’s store where the nationwide sit-in movement was sparked 60 years ago.

Greensboro is not without its challenges. With the loss of traditional manufacturing to overseas markets, the poverty rate in the city is higher than the national average, with the African-American population more likely to live in poverty than other races. 

Vanguards will hear from those working to ensure that the city can leverage the region’s resources to create an equitable and sustainable Greensboro.

Next City’s 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. Once selected as a Vanguard, the conference is free to attend. 

Selected Vanguards will take part in a full slate of activities, including curated excursions, exciting keynotes and panels, and dedicated time to bond with fellow Vanguards, starting before breakfast and continuing until after dinner, across the four days of the conference. Our alumni describe the experience as intense but rewarding, and like no other conference.

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 connect and network with the incoming class. (To learn more about our Vanguard network, visit our interactive Vanguard map.) With more than 400 Vanguards participating over the last ten 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 four-day Greensboro 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 the city to devise solutions to local challenges. The program will culminate in the annual Next City Big Idea Challenge.

The Vanguard Greensboro application process will run from January 9, 2020 to February 17, 2020, closing at 11:59 p.m. The application fee is $35, but a reduced early bird fee of $25 is available from January 8 through January 24. Visit our application page to apply.

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