Vanguards at the forefront of city planning

The New South Wales Government and Next City today announced the selection of 50 outstanding urban leaders from around the world to participate in Vanguard Australia in Newcastle.

The 2017 Vanguard Australia participants include policymakers, politicians, architects, urban planners, artists, technologists, entrepreneurs and advocates, many of whom are traveling from the USA, Britain, Singapore, and New Zealand.

“The calibre of applicants is exceptional and it is exciting to have so many passionate young leaders in their fields coming to Newcastle for Vanguard Australia,” said Michael Cassel, CEO of Hunter Development Corporation and former program director at UrbanGrowth NSW.

“Importantly, there is a strong representation of locals who either live in Newcastle or grew up and studied in the region,” said Mr Cassel.

“The conference celebrates many years of collaboration between the sponsoring organisations, including UrbanGrowth NSW, which handed over the Revitalising Newcastle project to the Hunter Development Corporation in July”.

Delegates come from backgrounds including Fortune 500 companies, philanthropy, academia, the tech sector, and all levels of government, including the mayoral offices and municipal agencies of major cities including Auckland, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Christchurch and Newcastle.

The competitive application process drew hundreds of qualified applicants, with the final group including 24 people from Australia and New Zealand, including four Novocastrians, and 28 participants from North America, Asia and Europe.

In addition to discussing some of the global challenges and opportunities in city making, the Vanguard Australia program will examine issues unique to Newcastle. It will explore the revitalisation of Newcastle through site tours that will take in the former Newcastle railway station, post office, heavy rail corridor, as well as the new public domain.

“Vanguards will be given an introduction to the history of Newcastle and will gain an appreciation for its rich social and industrial history,” said Mr Cassel.

“The capstone event in this year’s program is a ‘Big Idea Challenge’ that will ask Vanguards to envisage future uses for two prominent inner-city sites in Newcastle, and Vanguards will present their ideas at a public event on Thursday, November 9.”

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said she was thrilled to be welcoming the Vanguards to Newcastle at this pivotal point in the city’s revitalisation.

"Newcastle is excited to host these young, dynamic urban leaders from across the globe."

"It is truly a fantastic time to be a Novocastrian, and I want the Vanguard Australia participants to see the incredible work that is underway across the City of Newcastle.

"We are currently undergoing a rapid transformation and urban renewal with over $1 billion of development approved by across the city in the past 12 months alone, so it is a particularly exciting for this influential conference to be held right here in Newcastle.

"The Next City Vanguards will bring fresh eyes, a new perspective, and incredible knowledge of contemporary urban renewal strategies to some of the challenges facing Newcastle's revitalisation."

The conference will start on November 6, 2017, in Newcastle and it will be the first Vanguard conference held outside of North America.

The Newcastle Host Committee, which is made up of representatives from, the Hunter Development Corporation, Newcastle City Council, the University of Newcastle, Transport for NSW, Landcom, and the UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation, has also welcomed the participation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales and AECOM in Vanguard Australia as supporting partners.

To register to attend the ‘Big Idea Challenge’ presentation, please visit:  

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