Newcastle to host international Vanguard conference

Next City Vanguard is coming to Newcastle and will bring with it 50 of the best and brightest young urban thinkers and innovators from the Americas, New Zealand, and Australia.

The annual Vanguard conference aims to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through journalism and events, and will run 6-10 November 2017. Previous host cities include Washington D.C., Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cleveland.

“This is the first time this prestigious conference has been hosted outside the Americas, and as a major sponsor, we’re incredibly pleased to be welcoming the Vanguard delegates to Newcastle,” said UrbanGrowth NSW’s A/Chief Executive Barry Mann.

“The city is going through significant urban change, and this conference will recognise the collective efforts of the host committee to revitalise Newcastle,” said Mr Mann.

The Newcastle-based Host Committee that includes representatives from UrbanGrowth NSW, Newcastle City Council, the University of Newcastle, the Hunter Development Corporation, and Transport for New South Wales, has shaped the weeklong conference.

“We’re hoping to be able to learn as much from the visiting Vanguards and their experiences in other cities, as they will from Newcastle, and that the conference will establish an ongoing international dialogue between Newcastle and the next generation of city thinkers,” said Mr Mann.

“This Vanguard Australia conference is a celebration of Newcastle’s unique identity, dynamic change, innovation, heritage, culture, and of course, the Newcastle community.”

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes welcomed the conference as another chance to promote Newcastle as a Smart City after its progress had been acknowledged by the UN and OECD in the past two years.

“Council is very excited to host Next City Vanguard and to showcase our city as an emerging tech-innovation centre in the health, education, aerospace, defence and renewable energy sectors.

"The conference coincides with the ongoing revitalisation works in our inner city and improvements in urban design across our suburbs, and will highlight our fantastic quality of life to a global audience.”

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen said the University of Newcastle is delighted to be a partner in the 2017 Vanguard Australia conference.

"Universities are ideally positioned to play a critical role in the economic and social transformation of their cities and regions, and we look forward to contributing to this exciting opportunity to shape the future of Newcastle."

Hunter Development Corporation CEO and Revitalising Newcastle Program Director Michael Cassel said it was a great time to showcase a city in the midst of a great transformation.

“The Revitalising Newcastle program is ushering in a new era of economic growth and prosperity for the Newcastle city centre,” Mr Cassel said.

“This conference will be a great platform to discuss the opportunities and challenges of urban renewal with leaders from other cities and share in their experiences.”

Conference participants will be selected through a competitive process managed by Next City. Of the 50 selected participants, 25 will be from Australia or New Zealand. UrbanGrowth NSW strongly encourages Novocastrians to apply because we believe that the cohort will benefit from local knowledge and expertise.

Applications to join the cohort are now open and will close on 1 August, 2017. For more information, visit

The conference will also include a number of events for the public, with details to be released closer to the November event.

Please find a promotional video for the conference here:

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