World Design Capital



Who can apply

The WDC designation is conferred on cities that exhibit exceptional progress using the varied tools design offers. These cities demonstrate how their government, industry, educational institutions, designers and population are working individually and in concert to revitalise and reinvent their urban environment.

Each biennial is launched with a call for applications, open to all cities interested in becoming the next World Design Capital. The final selection is made based on the individual qualifications of each applicant city, irrespective of other applicant cities, as well as of the region of the appointment in prior WDC terms. The WDC designation is appointed to any city that can prove its commitment to design as a component of social, cultural and economic development and is not restricted to national capitals.

The application form comprises a series of questions that seeks to determine applicants’ eligibility, financial commitment and capacity to execute a high-quality programme of events.

Contrary to what are traditionally considered “design cities” – places where design industries have evolved over several decades – the label World Design Capital is not intended to be a status designator. Rather, it is appointed to those cities that have most effectively and, more importantly, creatively used design as a tool for progress.

The next World Design Capital may not be the most well-known or most visited global capital. An innovative, medium-sized city with a commitment to design has just as much chance at becoming the next World Design Capital as a high-profile national capital.

  • Only one application is accepted per city and must clearly demonstrate support from local government
  • Previous applicants are welcome to reapply to each new application cycle
  • Previous WDC titleholders may not reapply