The title of WDC was established in 2008 as part of Icsid’s drive to promote and encourage the use of design to further the social, economic and cultural development of cities. It is awarded biannually to give global prominence to a city that has shown its commitment to using design as a tool for this kind of development.
The City of Cape Town
won the honour for 2014. Previous winners were Turin, Italy (2008), Seoul, South Korea (2010) and Helsinki, Finland (2012). The next World Design Capital will be Taipei (2016).
The title of WDC provides an opportunity to showcase accomplishments, increase awareness of, and accessibility to, design, and highlight successes in urban revitalisation strategies.
As part of the contract with Icsid, Cape Town is required to host seven WDC signature events, including a Design Policy Conference and Design Week. To fulfil these obligations and to curate the official programme of design, the City of Cape Town established an independent not-for-profit implementing agency, Cape Town Design
The City funds CTD through a three-year grant to implement, run and wind down the 2014 programme; and CTD is tasked with raising additional sponsorships through private channels.
The theme for WDC2014 is “Live Design. Transform Life”. Therefore, the official programme of events throughout 2014 focuses on the transformative power of design, and how it can be used as a development tool.
There are four themes:
- African Innovation. Global Conversation - African ideas that speak to the world
- Bridging the Divide – Design that reconnects our city and reconciles our communities
- Today for Tomorrow – Sustainable solutions for people and planet
- Beautiful Spaces. Beautiful Things – Inspiring architecture, interiors, food, fashion, jewellery, craft, art and creativity
In addition to the public programme, the City of Cape Town has instituted an inward-looking programme. It is the first time a WDC titleholder has shown this commitment to entrenching design and design-led thinking into its own administration.
As part of this, the City has launched a programme that will allow citizen engagement with design-led projects in every ward in the city. The administration is also engaging with its staff members on internal projects and programmes, profiling those that demonstrate leading design thinking and practice, and enhancing those that do not.
- opportunity city
- safe city
- caring city
- inclusive city
- well-run city