Focus - Design, World Design Capital Heritage


Design & World Design Capitals heritage


Design is a helpful tool for transforming our societies and regions by:

> Shaping tomorrow through the power of visualising and conceptualising the intangible world;

> Designing solutions adapted to people and the planet by transforming our cities;

> Creating new economic models and jobs;

> Harnessing the power of technology to meet needs awaiting solutions.

A city’s designation as a World Design Capital is an opportunity to test out design-driven solutions and processes and to extend them above and beyond the year dedicated to design in the interest of transformation.


The relationship between design and the city has changed significantly in recent years. There are several reasons for this shift: some related to how design culture and practices have themselves evolved, others to the transformation of cities and even the transformation of social relations and how they interact with technology.

In this context, the disciplines and actions of public and private actors in the fields of urban development and architecture have also undergone profound transformations.

Design is now central to the conception of services and actions that will drive our urban transformation. The initiatives put forward by local governments, businesses, developers, citizens, associations and universities... and developed through design and innovation to construct our local ecosystems (cities, buildings, public and private spaces) are working to regenerate and transform the places where we live.

Design can be used, for example, to reduce the impact of our cities on the planet by changing our urban systems and conducting a major examination of what a city is today and what it will become tomorrow. It can also inspire circular processes where by-products of one system become a resource for another system.


Social innovation led by design can play a part in stimulating new economic and commercial models that meet social needs awaiting solutions.

It can be used to create new products, services and businesses to bolster their position in high-value areas such as health and environmental services. Such innovations can prompt the emergence of new talents and skills and therefore new jobs, of varying degrees of qualification, to meet these needs.

More broadly, the creation of new jobs is vital for ending extreme poverty and promoting sustainable development, key goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. New jobs are a direct way for people to escape insecurity and poverty.

The challenge is immense as over 500 million new jobs will be necessary over the next 15 years to maintain a stable employment rate globally. Design provides a response to achieve this challenge.