The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) announced in Taipei, Taiwan on 26th October, that the City of Cape Town (South Africa) has been designated the World Capital DesignR (WDC) 2014. Cape Town is the fourth city to hold this biennial appointment and marks the first for the African continent. Awarded to cities based on their commitment to use design as an effective tool for social, cultural and economic development, the WDC has become more than just a project or a programme. Today, it is a global movement and serves to acknowledge that design can, and does, impact the quality of human life. Icsid President and Member of the Selection Committee Dr. Mark Breitenberg stated, "It is encouraging to see how Cape Town plans to use design as a tool to solve urban challenges.
For Cape Town, the WDC appointment comes exactly two decades after reaching democracy. "2014, then, is the moment when the past and the future will come together for Cape Town, in contemplation and in action," stated Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Ms. Patricia de Lille. "It is a reflection of how the city has socially and physically reinvented itself." Cape Town's vision of design is based on socially responsible design, sustainability and innovation. The theme "Live Design. Transform Life" was introduced in support of Cape Town's objective to focus on enhancing the city's infrastructure to make it a more liveable African City.
Shortlisted candidate cities, Bilbao (Spain) and Dublin (Ireland) also mounted compelling bids. Dr. Breitenberg. " The story of transformation is about sustainability, urban development and embracing a global community in light of its drive to improve its social and economic environment. We expect tangible benefits will be reaped to help reposition Cape Town on an international scale." The City of Cape Town will follow the examples past World Design Capitals to develop an engaging programme for 2014.
About the World Design Capital® (WDC) www.worlddesigncapital.com
While there are many awards that recognise individual accomplishments in design, the World Design Capital designation is unique as it aims to focus on the broader essence of design's impact on urban spaces, economies and citizens. The designation provides a distinctive opportunity for cities to feature their accomplishments in attracting and promoting innovative design, as well as highlight their successes in urban revitalisation strategies.
Past cities to hold the title include Torino (Italy) in 2008 and Seoul (South Korea) in 2010. The City of Helsinki (Finland) is currently preparing to unveil its programme for 2012 under the theme of Open Helsinki: Embedding Design in Life www.wdc2012helsinki.fi/en.