The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) announced this morning, that the City of Cape Town (South Africa) has been designated the World Capital Design® (WDC) 2014 in Taipei by the International Design Alliance Congress. 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. I am confident that this new member of the WDC family will demonstrate to the world how design is expanding in application and influence.”
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. As part of their bid, 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.
“The promise of Cape Town’s approach to broaden the scope of the World Design Capital and shape the future of this initiative, were the deciding factors that ultimately led to the city’s appointment for 2014. 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.”
Cape Town is a growing and vibrant city, where design has for decades been a significant factor in its desire to build an open city. The marriage of need and innovative design has resulted in unique solutions to address the issues of a developing city. Design in Cape Town is also reaching beyond city limits by aspiring to become the design hub for South Africa and for the African continent.
Ms. De Lille concluded her acceptance of the WDC designation by saying, “We are grateful for the World Design Capital bid process and title. It has helped to bring different initiatives together and has made us realise that design in all its forms, when added together, creates human and city development. We look forward to learning from other cities that are using design as a tool for transformation, including designated cities Torino, Seoul and Helsinki and our fellow shortlisted cities, Dublin and Bilbao.
We are honoured to have been considered with them.” The City of Cape Town will follow the examples past World Design Capitals to develop an engaging programme for 2014. How we did it!