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Becoming a WDC



The World Design Capital designated city is a hub for design and creativity. It is an innovative city that drives urban development through design, while using design as an economic development tool. It is a leading city, one that aims to participate among the international network of design effective cities and strives to share best practices and strategies.

The process to becoming a World Design Capital begins with the call for submissions of applications for the biennial designation, where a combination of many factors contributes to the final selection. Although applicants are encouraged to prepare a creative proposal for review, it is essential, that applications clearly define the aims and objectives of the city to hold the designation, as well as provide a detailed account of the city’s contribution to design from a social, economical and cultural point of view.

The application should be carefully completed in English; particular attention should be given to the requirements for government support, prior to submitting the final application.

An applicant city must specify how, during the WDC calendar year, it intends to:

  • Express the specific relevance of design for the quality of life in the city;
  • Ensure the mobilisation and participation of large sections of the population;
  • Promote the dialogue between the design community and other groups of the society: business, academics, youth, etc.

As this project continues to grow, Icsid is pleased to provide additional material to interested cities in order to help guide municipalities seeking more information about the mission and process of the WDC. By way of a downloadable booklet, entitled “Becoming a WDC”, Icsid has developed chapters dedicated to the application and designation process.

This publication, now available for download, has been produced in order to provide cities with full disclosure on what being shortlisted and the winning the final designation mean. It will allow for cities to make more informed decision before submitting their bid and determine the level of resources to allocate to such a project.

It is Icsid’s hope that this document will empower design-centric cities to see the benefits of the World Design Capital designation and put forward a creative and quality-driven bid.

By becoming a World Design Capital, the designated city enters into an agreement with Icsid regarding the planning and administration of the WDC programme of events.