Fallon Aidoo selected to join NextCity Vanguards

Fallon Aidoo

University of New Orleans
New Orleans, LA

Fallon is an educator, scholar and practitioner of resilience planning. Her recent appointments—Louisiana Landmarks Society trustee and UNO’s Chair of Historic Preservation—follow decades of teaching, researching and consulting on adaptive reuse of infrastructural heritage. She advances equitable reinvestment advising the public realm projects of cities, conservancies and communities.



Vanguard is an annual experiential urban leadership gathering of the best and brightest, working to improve cities across sectors such as urban planning, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation, sustainability, design, art and media.

This year our Vanguard co-host is the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), a public-private partnership that is the official economic development organization for the city.  

The 2018 Vanguard fellows include philanthropic changemakers, academics, policymakers and planners working for influential organizations such as the Urban League and National Trust for Historic Preservation, as well as the Kresge and Ford foundations.

Among this cohort of impressive and dedicated leaders are: a Cincinnati community organizer who grew an initial $2,000 grant for black and brown entrepreneurs into a robust board-approved budget of $511,000, alongside $300,000 in a micro-loan fund; a NOLA preservationist working to raise awareness about New Orleans’ modernist, 20th-century architecture; and a Mumbai planner educating school-age children about urban design through workshops and play. From Hong Kong to Austin, this class of innovators demonstrates ingenuity and resilience to tackle the global challenges of our delicate urban landscape. View the entire Vanguard group here.

“We are excited to bring urban leaders from around the world to New Orleans,” said Next City Board Chair and Vanguard alumnus Eric D. Shaw. “I know from my time living in Louisiana that New Orleans residents are full of big ideas. We’re happy to have our Vanguards be part of this tradition.”

The Vanguard initiative was launched by Next City, a journalism nonprofit with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through reporting and events around the world. This year we chose 44 Vanguards from a pool of more than 500 applicants, in a highly selective process. Applications came from across the U.S., as well as Canada, India, Hong Kong and the U.K.  

“It’s an honor to represent a community picked by Next City for the Vanguard conference,” said Quentin L. Messer, president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance. “New Orleans benefits from a strong portfolio of success stories that other cities can learn from, but we also have our challenges. While progress has been made, like other cities, New Orleans continues to grapple with the challenges of bringing greater economic security to more of our friends and neighbors and ensuring that our economic growth portrait reflects all of the faces on our local color palette.  Having a collection of the world’s best thinkers and urban experts in town can only contribute to developing solutions for creating a more inclusive economy in New Orleans.”