New Urban Champions

Empowering secondary, small, and medium-sized cities

Within the global rise of cities, media coverage of leading city-level action has a tendency to gravitate towards megacities; however, a great amount of the growth, innovation and development which is driving the century of the city is occurring in small and medium-sized cities. These small and medium-sized cities, or “secondary cities” within a country’s population hierarchy, have a great deal to share with the world about the future of energy, mobility, smart technology, and sustainability in cities.

As an independent non-profit organization, NewCities brings a ‘whole-city’ approach, connecting civil society organizations, governments, academic institutions, nonprofits, and business communities. By building a “cohort” of New Urban Champions, we seek to establish a network of city movers and shakers that will serve as models for other cities.

The New Urban Champions workstream includes an annual conference series (pre-COVID), learning expeditions in selected cities, research, and broadcast communications to create a space for meaningful discussion and collaboration among various urban stakeholders.

  • Working with New Urban Champion partner ENGIE, NewCities convened its first New Urban Champions Learning Expedition in Columbus, Ohio in October 2018. The event brought together a group of 30 people, including representatives from 10 local governments, university administrators from the Americas and Europe, and private sector actors ranging from local Columbus mobility startups to global business leaders.
  • In 2021, our second edition takes a new digital form as we immerse ourselves in the city of St. Louis, Missouri.

New Urban Champions is an initiative created to showcase the most successful, but less frequently told stories of collaboration, growth, and problem-solving happening in cities that deserve a greater share of the spotlight.