World Design Capital


Selection committee

Every term, a dedicated panel consisting of five international representatives of varied expertise is appointed to the WDC Selection Committee.

The 2018 committee comprises:

Dr. Brandon GienDr. Brandon Gien
2013-2015 Icsid President

Dr. Gien is the CEO of Good Design Australia and Chair of the Australian International Design Awards (AIDA), Australiaís longest standing design awards program. Prior to founding Good Design Australia, Dr. Gien was the General Manager of Design Strategy and Head of Corporate Services for Standards Australia, recognised by the Government as Australiaís peak Standards body. Through Dr. Gienís work, AIDA is now widely recognized and respected for its important role in promoting the value of design-led innovation to business, industry, academia, government and the general public.

Dr. Gien studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Newcastle where he later graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Design. He holds a PhD in Environmental Design from the University of Canberra’s School of Design and Architecture. Dr. Gien was made a Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia in recognition of his contribution to the design sector in Australia and was recently appointed as a Design Ambassador to Japan.

Dr. Meric GertlerDr. Meric Gertler
President Meric Gertler, PhD, FRSC, FAcSS, MCIP

Dr. Meric S. Gertler began his term as the 16th President of the University of Toronto on 1 November 2013. Prior to that, he served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science—the largest faculty at the University—from 2008 to 2013, where he championed many important innovations in undergraduate teaching and learning. He is a Professor of Geography and Planning, and the Goldring Chair in Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a co-founder of a large research program at U of Tís Munk School of Global Affairs investigating the role of city-regions as sites of innovation and creativity in the global economy. His work engages in comparative analysis of North American and European cities to understand how local social and cultural dynamics create the foundations for economic success and prosperity. He has served as an advisor to local, regional and national governments in Canada, the United States and Europe, as well as to international agencies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (Paris) and the European Union. He has authored or edited seven books, including Manufacturing Culture: The Institutional Geography of Industrial Practice and The Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography (with Gordon Clark and Maryann Feldman).

Dr. Luyanda MpahlwaDr. Luyanda Mpahlwa
Director & Design Principal – DesignSpaceAfrica (Pty) Ltd

Dr. Luyanda Mpahlwa, Cape Town based Architect and Urban Designer obtained his Masters in Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. He is the Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa DesignSpaceAfrica, the architecture and design firm he founded in 2009. His architectural education in South Africa was interrupted when he was incarcerated on Robben Island Prison in 1981 for his anti-apartheid political activities. After his release from a 5 year prison term in 1986, he went into exile in West Germany where he spent 15 years. He relocated back to South Africa in 2000 and was Director/Partner with MMA Architects for 12 years. Luyanda was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Science and Technology from the Walter Sisulu University for his contribution to innovative technologies and design for social change. He has been associated with the Cape Town World Design Capital Bid Committee from inception and attended the award ceremony in Taipei where Icsid awarded Cape Town the designation, World Design Capital 2014.

Abigail PosnerAbigail Posner
Head of Strategic Planning, Agency Development, Google

Abigail joined Google over 2 years ago to head up the Strategic Planning Practice for the Agency team. She works closely with the advertising and marketing communities to help develop their strategic and creative efforts for the digital space. While at Google, she has also launched an industryófirst thought leadership series on human beings deep, emotional relationships with the digital space: Humanising Digital. And she has created and teaches an inspirational ìculture of insightsî programme & toolkit for internal both Google audiences and key marketers “Behold the Aha: from Data to Insight.”

Prior to joining Google, Abigail was Executive Vice President, Strategy Director at Publicis New York, where she directed strategic planning efforts for major new business pitches and provided thought leadership to key global clients, including LíOreal, NestlÈ and Coca-Cola. Before that, Abigail spent 11 years at DDB New York. There, she co-directed the strategic planning department and directed strategic efforts for a range of clients, from PepsiCo and Unilever to Hertz.

Mayor of TaipeiMayor of Taipei
To be announced later in 2014

It is customary for the Mayor of the current WDC designate city to serve on the Selection Committee that selects the next WDC city. However, this year Mayor Lung-Bin Hau of Taipei’s term ends in November 2014. Until Mayor Hau is re-elected or his successor is named, Icsid will reserve a seat on the Committee for the Mayor of the City of Taipei. A formal invitation will be issued following the mayoral elections.