Helsinki (Finland) – The International Design Foundation is inviting proposals for programmes. The search will run from 22 October 2010 – 11 February 2011.

World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 is a unique opportunity to do important things – things with the seeds of change in them. The theme of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 Year, Open Helsinki – Embedding Design in Life, is a future-oriented idea.

The World Design Capital is more than a year-long event. It has a wide conception of design and its possibilities. The World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 programme consists of events and deeds that make use of design as a wide-ranging tool of cultural, social and economic development. The primary area of activity consists of the World Design Capital cities: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti.


1. Open city – preconditions for a better life for city dwellers
This theme is in search for inspiring ways for city residents to participate in and actively influence the development of their living environment. This is related, among other things, to the city environment, communality, sustainable development and the renewal of public services based on residents’ needs.

2. Global responsibility – a new role for design
This theme searches for solutions that promote happiness and quality of life.  Projects are realised where design and design thinking have a new role as triggers for change. As the Design Capital,   the city is committed to searching for connections to people, organisations and solutions throughout the world.

3. Roots of new growth – Embedded Design
This theme searches for new ways to utilise design as a source of growth in a sustainable way.  Expectations of growth in business and increased well-being will be measured in other ways.

The core idea of World Design Capital 2012 has been Open Helsinki – Embedded Design in Life. Embedded Design extends the area of applicability of design from goods to services and systems. It brings the methods of design and the needs of users to planning from the beginning.


When building the programme,  there will be an emphasis on contents that support the aforementioned key themes of the WDC Helsinki 2012 project. When preparing suggestions for programmes, please keep in mind the following criteria:

Connection to design of the project/event
What is the role of design in the proposal? For instance, does the project involve a way of presenting or using design or design thinking, a new innovation, a groundbreaking service design concept, or a solution or deed to renew the city environment?

International effectiveness
Does the project have an international dimension? Is it something that has the entire world as its scope?

Local effectiveness
Small is beautiful, too. Does the project have a significant role locally? Or in the renewal of a school, a quarter, a district or the entire region? Does it strengthen local identity?

Uniqueness and originality
For the programme of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 Year, the search is for new, fresh and even unprecedented contents. Your own insights.

Taking into account sustainable development and responsibility in the realisation
In the content and realisation of projects and events, the key thought is responsibility for the future.

In addition, the following criteria are also considered when selecting the programmes:

  • WDC Helsinki 2012 as a whole
  • Target groups
  • Temporal and geographical location of the events

To proceed
Read the instructions for making a programme proposal and proceed withregistering an account and submitting the proposal with the submissions form. If you already registered an account, log in with your username and password here.