Newcastle to host Vanguard conference

OPEN TO IDEAS: Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Revitalising Newcastle director Michael Cassel and UrbanGrowth's Nicole Campbell. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

OPEN TO IDEAS: Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Revitalising Newcastle director Michael Cassel and UrbanGrowth's Nicole Campbell. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

NEWCASTLE’S transformation and its “smart city” credentials will be in the spotlight later this year when it hosts an urban ideas and innovation conference.

The annual Next City Vanguard conference, to be held in Newcastle from November 6 to 10, will feature 50 of the “brightest and best” young urban thinkers from the Americas, New Zealand and Australia.

Newcastle is the first city outside the United States to host the event, following on from Washington, Philadelphia, St Louis and Cleveland.

A host committee including UrbanGrowth NSW, Newcastle council, the University of Newcastle, the Hunter Development Corporation and Transport for NSW has designed the conference.

A spokesman for UrbanGrowth, which led the Newcastle bid, said the committee’s representatives were sharing the “financial and in-kind” contributions for the conference but declined to put a dollar figure on its cost.

Novocastrians are encouraged to apply to be among the 50 participants, 25 of who will be from Australia and New Zealand.

OPEN TO IDEAS: Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Revitalising Newcastle director Michael Cassel and UrbanGrowth's Nicole Campbell. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

OPEN TO IDEAS: Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Revitalising Newcastle director Michael Cassel and UrbanGrowth's Nicole Campbell. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

UrbanGrowth’s acting chief executive Barry Mann said he hoped Newcastle would learn from the experiences of other cities.

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

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the conference offered Newcastle the opportunity to “to showcase our city as an emerging tech innovation centre in the health, education, aerospace, defence and reneweable energy sectors”.

University of Newcastle was delighted to be a partner in the conference, vice-chancellor Caroline McMillen said.

“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,” she said.

Revitalising Newcastle program director and Hunter Development Corporation CEO Michael Cassel said the city was 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,” he said.

Next City president Tom Dallessio said the conference was thrilled to be coming to Newcastle.

“This historic, regenerating city has so much to teach us about building the cities of the future. We look forward to bringing 50 of the best and brightest urban leaders from around the world together in Newcastle to share ideas for strengthening legacy cities across the globe," he said.

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