Urban designer and New Iberia community organizer Phanat Xanamane will make his way to Cleveland this month as one of the “40 under 40” attendees selected for this year’s Vanguard class — an annual conference held for the collective generation of ideas geared towards improving America’s cities.

Phanat Xanamane

Xanamane is a Lao-American who grew up in the lower income West End neighborhood of New Iberia. After completing an M.A. in urban design at Columbia University, Xanamane, in 2011, returned to his hometown as a community organizer, co-founding the non-profit Envision daBerry to aid in the revitalization movement taking hold in the city’s West End.

Xanamane was selected among 200 urban designers to apply for this year’s Vanguard class, which will begin June 10, and will consist of two days of workshops, local tours and an “unconference” where he and his classmates will brainstorm and come up with ideas on new methods for improving cities both large and small.

Xanamane’s reaction:

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about cutting edge work being done from wonderfully talented professionals from cities facing many of the same issues we have here in New Iberia. Many of the people are coming from much larger cities and are bringing a diverse array of experiences and skills to share. I’m just thrilled that little ole New Iberia will be part of the conversation. I’m looking forward to expanding [Envision daBerry’s] network of resources and bringing back some great innovative ideas to help push forward New Iberia’s revitalization efforts.
Click here to check out Xanamane’s Envision daBerry.

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