San Diego (California), 26 May 2023 – San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, City of Tijuana representatives and key stakeholders from the cross-border initiative officially launched World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024 today at a Signing Ceremony presented by Vesta and hosted in collaboration with World Design Organization (WDO)®, represented by David Kusuma. More than 300 design community members and civic and business leaders convened at UC San Diego’s Park & Market for the kick off event, which precedes a yearlong celebration of design beginning in 2024.

Every two years, WDO designates a World Design Capital® to recognize and showcase a city or region’s effective use of design in driving economic, social, cultural and environmental progress. The cities of San Diego and Tijuana represent the first cross-border region to be designated World Design Capital and the first time a U.S. city has been selected for this prestigious distinction.

“Having been selected as the World Design Capital is a recognition of our region’s reputation for innovation and of the exciting arts and cultural offerings on both sides of the border,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024 will provide a yearlong platform to showcase design, and it will further enhance cross-border collaboration while raising the profile of our binational region on the global stage.”

“This World Design Capital designation will allow us to show that there is more that unites us than divides us as we work together to tell the story of the 7 million people who live and work here and as we partner on addressing the most pressing issues facing our region,” said Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero.

WDO President David Kusuma said the organization is excited to welcome San Diego and Tijuana into its global movement that highlights communities using design to enhance economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

“At WDO, we believe that San Diego and Tijuana have a powerful story to share on the international stage, especially as a model for other border cities around the world. The World Design Capital designation will provide the region with a platform to leverage and champion design towards transformational projects,” Kusuma stated.

“Higher education plays a pivotal role in sustainable community growth, opportunity and impact, and design is the linchpin that brings it all together,” said Pradeep Khosla. “At UC San Diego, we understand and are deeply committed to leveraging our leadership in design and innovation to serve as a catalyst for positive societal impact, access and community building that strengthens connections and serves as a model for other cross-border regions around the world.”

Carlos de la Mora, CEO of the World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024, said he looks forward to a year of activities, events and programming that will connect the local community around design, while addressing real-world problems such as education, regional planning and climate change.

“This was a multi-year effort spearheaded by leaders on both sides of the border and our founding partners the UC San Diego Design Lab, the City of San Diego, the City of Tijuana, Design Forward Alliance, and the Burnham Center for Community Advancement,” said de la Mora. “Being named World Design Capital is so much more than just a designation. It is a tool for transformation. We want to change the way our cross-border region thinks now and into the future. Together we will work to ensure that everything we do in 2024 will leave a lasting and meaningful legacy that will positively impact our region for years to come.”

Throughout 2024, a calendar of community events and seven signature events organized in partnership with the WDO will celebrate the region while advancing key transformational projects. In addition, on 1 June 2023, a public submissions process will be launched to engage the more than seven million residents in redesigning the region through collaborative projects — from green infrastructure and design education to reimagining the border as a destination and restoring the binational river ecosystem.

Signing Ceremony speakers included: Mai Nguyen, Board Chair, WDC 2024; David Kusuma, President, World Design Organization; Mayor Todd Gloria, City of San Diego; Alejandro Mungaray, Secretary of Economic Development, City of Tijuana; Pradeep Khosla, Chancellor, UC San Diego; Tad Parzen, President and CEO, BCCA, Seda Evis, Board Member, DFA; Carlos de la Mora, CEO WDC 2024.

For more information, please contact:
Natalie Dutil, WDO Communications Manager

About World Design Organization

World Design Organization (WDO)®  is an international non-governmental organization and the international voice for industrial design. We advocate for Design for a Better World, promoting and sharing knowledge of industrial design-driven innovation that enhances the economic, social, cultural, and environmental quality of life. Today, WDO services over 185 member organizations, representing thousands of industrial designers around the world.


About World Design Capital®

Designated every two years by the World Design Organization, World Design Capital® (WDC) recognizes cities for their effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural, and environmental development. Through a year-long programme of events, the designated city showcases best practices in sustainable design-led urban policy and innovation that have reinvented their city and improved quality of life. Previous WDCs include Torino (Italy) in 2008, followed by Seoul (South Korea) in 2010, Helsinki (Finland) in 2012, Cape Town (South Africa) in 2014, Taipei (Taiwan, Chinese Taipei) in 2016, Mexico City (Mexico) in 2018, Lille Metropole (France) in 2020 and Valencia (Spain) in 2022.  The cities San Diego (USA) and Tijuana (Mexico) will jointly hold the first binational designation in 2024.