World Design Capital Taipei 2016
The October Signature Events: Showcasing the Value of Design

October was the highlight of Taipei’s year-long programme of events as World Design Capital 2016. Four WDC Signature Events—Design Policy Conference, Design House Exhibition, Design Week Forum and Network of Cities meeting—attracted over 870,000 people to the city. These events, along with a series of urban regeneration projects that were showcased under the banner of WDC this year, including the Small Shop

Signboard Manufacturer, Recreate Taipei, the MRT Design Station, the social innovation-focused Yodex and Creative Expo, Nuit Blanche Taipei, World Industrial Design Day, the new OMA-designed performing arts centre, and the citywide bike sharing system, YouBike, all revealed that the impact of design in Taipei will continue long after the World Design Capital comes to an end.

Network of Cities Meeting

Former WDC mayors and city representatives from Helsinki, Cape Town, Mexico City, Eindhoven, Kolding and Phoenix gathered in Taipei for the WDC Network of Cities meeting to discuss legacy programs, explore opportunities for collaboration, and share design-based public policy solutions to the many civic and environmental challenges faced by cities around the globe.

Design Policy Conference

Held on 15 and 16 October 2016 before a crowd 1500 strong at the Taipei International Convention Centre, the WDC International Design Policy Conference brought together design professionals, policy experts, government officials, and academics from around the world to explore the role of design in city development, the sharing economy, social innovation, and human-centred design.

“The International Design Policy Conference was an opportunity for Taiwan to forge lasting bonds with the global community that will help secure an innovative path of development for our cities.”
– Pei-ni Beatrice Hsieh, Commissioner of Taipei’s Department of Cultural Affairs

Design House Exhibition

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) headlined the opening ceremony of the International Design House Exhibition, which featured six pavilions at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, from 13 – 31 October 2016. The Design House Exhibition was curated by local designers whose series of thought-provoking exhibitions challenged the 800,000 visitors to reconsider their relationship with the urban environment and experience first-hand how design can radically change the world’s cities.

International Design Week Forum

The WDC International Design Week Forum, held on 17 and 18 October 2016, gathered representatives from 18 different design weeks and festivals around the world to contribute their insights into how cities can best support design and the design community.

Through this forum we were able to get to know each other better, and understand how other people curate their own event. We’re already starting to think about the next step, of how we can work together in future.”
– Ben Chui, Executive Director, Taiwan Designers’ Week.

As World Design Capital 2016, Taipei joins Torino, Seoul, Helsinki, and Cape Town, a network of cities who are communicating the importance of design to address the challenges of rapid urbanization.

Before its designation as WDC 2016, the city of Taipei had already developed a reputation for innovative design. In just 50 years and despite limited resources, it reinvigorated its urban landscape to include a sophisticated transit system, specialized medical care and a bustling cultural infrastructure.

The city of Taipei leveraged the WDC designation to showcase the ways in which they adapted to meet the needs of its citizens, using design-led innovation to improve quality of life, address the challenges of rapid urbanization, strengthen urban governance, create a forward looking city with design vision, and serve as a model for other cities around the world.

Under the theme Adaptive City – Design in Motion, Taipei showcased its talented design industry on the international stage, initiated new city development projects and nurtured an understanding of design that is beginning to permeate across the various city departments and in the partnerships established with other design effective cities.

While World Design Capital 2016 officially comes to an end at a convocation ceremony being held at the end of December, Taipei’s design story has only just begun. Under a new city administration eager for change and with Taipei’s talented and ever-growing design community, the legacy of WDC continues to drive Taipei’s development and inspire other cities around the world grappling with the challenges of rapid urbanization to use design as a powerful tool to create a more attractive, competitive, liveable and sustainable city.

“WDC is a movement. It is bigger than any one place in which it is held.”