The World Design Organisation (WDO), an international, non-governmental establishment which encourages the profession of industrial and urban design, announced Valencia (Spain) as the World Design Capital 2022. Earlier, WDO had awarded the same designation to Lille Metropole in France for the year 2020.
Biennially, WDO designates the World Design Capital (WDC) to cities, recognising and celebrating them for their effectual use of design, which drives economic, cultural, social and environmental development, ultimately shaping a better and improved society. Each designated city exhibits innovative, sustainable practises and design interventions within environmental policies, which enhance quality of life, through year-long events and programmes.
For every WDC cycle, a panel of five international experts are appointed as the WDC Selection Committee. They assess applications received from cities contesting for the designation, and inspect bids based on several criteria – how citizens of a city might benefit from the title, the city’s capacity to finance and organise year-long programmes of design related events and foster strategies for urban regeneration, among many others. Eventually, the committee shortlists three cities for the designation, after which city visits are conducted to make the final call. Following the announcement of the World Design Capital, the newly appointed city has two years to prepare and implement a programme of design related events, to be heard and seen internationally.
World Design Capital 2020: Lille Metropole, France
Situated in northern France, the European metropolis of Lille is an intercommunal structure, made up of a network of these cities - Lille, Roubaix, Tourcoing, Villeneuve d'Ascq, Armentières, out of which the major city is Lille. Named the WDC 2020, Lille Metropole is the first city in France to hold this title. The WDC designation is beneficial for Lille Metropole as it puts the region on the global map, making an impact internationally.
Lille Metropole embraces design in all its forms and is known for its thriving cultural setting. The city is of opinion that customised, and sustainably driven urban design can lead to betterment of sectors, including enhancing the lives of inhabitants, optimising public areas and urban travel, along with expanding businesses of local companies. In order to ensure that Lille Metropole becomes more attractive, liveable and sustainable, its residents, comprising entrepreneurs, business leaders, local authorities and private citizens, are all keenly and actively engaged in collaborative design-driven projects.
Lille Metropole’s President, Damien Castelain, while accepting the designation had said, “We are proud and honoured to be designated World Design Capital 2020. This designation is a wonderful opportunity for the metropolitan area and the nation to lay down the foundations for a new society by spreading design practices across the region and inviting all of our fellow citizens to play a part. We are convinced that design will be the key to our metamorphosis. For it provides methods and skills that are essential, inspirational and edifying when it comes to bringing about the profound societal, economic and environmental changes needed in society.”
World Design Capital 2022: Valencia, Spain
Valencia is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia, in Spain. Due to its time-honoured design legacy, Valencia has become an example of how a city can incorporate strategic use of design. Becoming the eighth city to hold this biennial title, Valencia has been named WDC 2022.
Situated in the south east of Spain, on the Mediterranean coast, Valencia is a portal city which boasts of remarkable urban infrastructure. These infrastructural elements are highly directed towards co-existing with the natural and built environment.According to Luisa Bocchietto, WDO President and member of the WDC 2020 Selection Committee, “Valencia’s bid articulated a compelling proposal that clearly demonstrates the effective application of Mediterranean design, of design for change and design as a key reference point to improve citizen’s quality of life. We also hope that this designation could motivate other regional and Ibero-American cities to bid for a future WDC cycle.”
The designation is a unique and brilliant opportunity for cities to improve and develop sustainable approaches to design, at local and regional levels.
Previous WDCs include Torino, Italy (2008), followed by Seoul, South Korea (2010), Helsinki, Finland (2012), Cape Town, South Africa (2014), Taipei City, Republic of China (2016), and Mexico City, Mexico in 2018.