The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) announced a landmark for the World Design Capital (WDC) initiative as a record 56 cities in 24 countries have expressed interest in the 2014 designation as applications closed on March 31, 2011.
WDC 2014 will be the fourth designation since the establishment of the project in 2004. Icsid bestowed the inaugural WDC designation to Torino (Italy) in 2008, which was followed by Seoul (South Korea) in 2010 and most recently Helsinki (Finland), who are off to an ambitious start for their year of events in 2012. By virtue of the success and promise of these cities, the WDC initiative has participated in stimulating an international recognition of design as an essential and sustainable component for the improvement of living conditions in urban areas, evident in the growing interest and demand among cities worldwide for the WDC designation.
"Throughout the first two World Design Capital designations in Torino and Seoul, we have been privileged to witness countless innovative and inspiring ways in which design can be used to advance the social, economic and cultural quality of life for citizens within urban areas," stated Dr. Mark Breitenberg, Icsid President and 2014 WDC selection committee member. "As these accomplishments continue to develop in WDC designated cities, we are presented with a vivid picture of design's ability to stimulate positive change on a large scale. This has resulted in a constant increase in awareness and appreciation for the WDC initiative throughout the years, which I believe has strongly influenced the international movement towards the use of design-driven approaches to address important issues in all facets of urban development."
Following the close of applications for the 2014 designation, an international selection committee will begin the detailed process of analysing and evaluating all of the entries, with the announcement of the 2014 WDC city being made at the 2011 IDA Congress in Taipei. The selection committee consists of Dr. Mark Breitenberg, Icsid President (USA); Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg, Chief, Creative Industries Programme of UNCTAD (Switzerland); Jeremy Myerson, Director and Chair of the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art (UK); Kohei Nishiyama Founder and CEO of elephant design co., ltd. and Founder of CUUSOO.com (Japan) and Jussi Pajunen Mayor of the City of Helsinki (Finland).
"As most urban cities have embarked on the post-industrial era, design in all its expressions has been playing an increasing role in reinventing the urban foundation of many cities around the world," commented Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg. "The design choices that cities make will have far-reaching consequences for the quality of lives of its citizens and the environment in the years to come. The winning city of the 2014 World Design Capital designation will be able to capitalise on this recognition to put in place long-term strategies to ensure better liveable cities for its citizens, not only now but also for future generations."