About World Design Capital

The World Design Capital® programme promotes and encourages the use of design to further the economic, social, cultural, and environmental development of the world’s cities.

Designated every two years, World Design Capital (WDC) is a year-long promotion programme to showcase the accomplishments of cities that are effectively leveraging design to improve the lives of their citizens.

Through the World Design Capital designation, a city can expect to:

  • Gain recognition for its innovative use of design to strengthen economic, social, cultural, and environmental development
  • Showcase its achievements at the international level
  • Join an international network where cities and municipalities can learn and share innovative design-led urban revitalization programmes and strategies
  • Attract tourism and investment
  • Build a global reputation as a leading centre of design, creativity, and innovation

With designations in Torino (2008), Seoul (2010), Helsinki (2012), Cape Town (2014), Taipei (2016), Mexico City (2018), Lille Métropole (2020), Valencia (2022) and most recently announced San Diego-Tijuana in 2024, a collaborative movement of WDC cities is emerging.

This network of cities is showing how design can, and does, impact quality of life. These cities have gone on to become prominent design hubs, which is the real strength of the WDC designation, continuing to communicate the importance of design as a tool to address some of our biggest urban challenges long after their initial designation year.

For more information about WDC, please contact Eric Lauwers, Programmes Manager at wdc@wdo.org