Five cities from Asia, Europe and Oceania had applied for the title of World Design Capital 2020 (WDC). Two cities made the shortlist: Sydney, Australia, and Lille, France. Now we know which city won out.
The delegations for both finalists held out hope until the very end. Both cities had submitted solid applications, convincing the international jury comprising experts from design, urban planning and economic and social development of the respective city’s potential as a design capital.
Lille and Sydney go head to head
The French city Lille, formerly an industrial city, is endeavouring to drive forward the urgently necessary structural change with a far-reaching project. The creative industry is to be enhanced through the project “Eldorado: the greatest design experiment”, which places design at the heart of its economic, social and ecological transformation and makes it a driving factor for urban renewal.
The Australian metropolis of Sydney applied together with Parramatta and other surrounding suburbs for the title of World Design Capital 2020. It announced that if it won the title it would use the time as World Design Capital to design the WDC programme “Inclusive, Resilient” as an open platform. In this way, citizens, groups, institutions, policy makers and people all around the globe could work together to develop a new model of social impact for an increasingly urbanised world that embraces the land and connects to the climate.
Prof. Mugendi M´Rithaa, President of the World Design Organization until the General Assembly on 14 October when he was replaced at the end of his term, praised the commitment of both cities in advance of the announcement. Both cities, he said, were consciously using the design process as a means of resolving their specific biggest urban challenges.
Lille – Urban development driven by design
The jury members made their decision after visiting both cities in person. At the end of the day, it was Lille that had the slight edge. Prof. Mugendi M’Rithaa, stated: “As a strategically located metropolis in the heart of Europe, Lille is an intellectual, cultural, socioeconomic and creative hub of significance to the sub-region and beyond. Their bid references their creative traditions and rich heritage whilst showcasing the catalytic benefits of embracing human-centred design thinking at cityscale.”
Lille thus joins the ever-longer list of design capitals, after Torino, the first WDC in 2008, Seoul (2010), Helsinki (2012), Cape Town (2014), Taipei (2016) and Mexico City, which will hold the title in the coming year.
The WDC programme and its connection to Red Dot
The World Design Organization, formerly Icsid (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design), is an international non-profit organisation. The “World Design Capital” project was brought to life by Professor Dr Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Design Award, during his time as President of the global design organisation (2005-2007). He believed that, in view of the enormous structural transformation, cities must use their creative potential consciously in order to design attractive living spaces and stand out from the rest. Every two years, cities can apply for the sought-after title to use design as a possibility for improving social, cultural and economic life.
Posted on 23.10.2017