Cape Town today received the welcome news that the city has been short-listed for World Design Capital 2014. From a team of 56 hopefuls, Cape Town now stands alongside just two other world cities; Dublin and Bilbao in the race to earn the World Design Capital title, which will be announced in October 2011.
Cape Town is the first city in Africa to come this close to being named a World Design Capital, a designation which bears prestigious status. The title is awarded biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development.
The Cape Town Partnership was given the mandate by the City of Cape Town to compile a bid for World Design Capital 2014. Managing Director of the Cape Town Partnership, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, said: "Just as the World Cup was a coup for Africa, this is a significant moment for the entire continent. Being short-listed for World Design Capital 2014 is a unique opportunity to change perceptions and to position Cape Town, South Africa and Africa for the knowledge economy. The year 2014 also marks the anniversary of two decades of democracy in South Africa, and so winning the World Design Capital designation would be particularly significant for us."
The executive Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Patricia de Lille, commented on the importance of the World Design Capital accolade: "It is a tremendous honour to be shortlisted for World Design Capital of the year for 2014 and we are proud of our involvement in the bid with the Cape Town Partnership. The City of Cape Town is committed to exploring new and innovative ways not only to deliver basic services to all, especially the poor, but also to position ourselves as a hub of opportunity.
"This administration has placed design and planning strategies at the centre of our mission to improve the lives of our citizens. In so doing, we will ensure that we include everyone in the future of our metro by providing them with new opportunities. The exposure that we will receive from this short listing will help position us in marketing ourselves as an inclusive City of the future, not only domestically but to the rest of the world as well."
The announcement is pivotal for Cape Town's reputation as a destination that has adopted design for transformation and social cohesion. There is a strong connection between good design and a city's economic growth, development and social inclusion program. Well-designed cities are best placed to address issues of competitiveness, climate change, growth, social cohesion and mobility. Design as a principle for changing lives began with the end of apartheid and, increasingly, has become a guiding philosophy in the repositioning of Cape Town as a sustainable city, committed to a journey to improve the quality of life for all its citizens.
Makalima-Ngewana explained that Cape Town is working towards a new brand position as a destination that is open for business, as well as leisure. "We are more than just a leisure destination; Cape Town is a place where innovation, creativity and inspiration meet."
With predecessors such as Seoul, Korea (2010) and Helsinki, Finland (2012), proving that design can in fact transform lives, Cape Town's status as a top three contender shifts the city onto a new world platform and into a new era.
The creation of the World Design Capital Bid has, in itself, succeeded in putting design firmly on the City Development Agenda through identifying numerous tangible examples of how design-led interventions and planning can have a positive impact on lives.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille congratulated the City of Cape Town for being short-listed.
"If we win the World Design Capital 2014 title it will be great for South Africa. It will help build Cape Town and the rest of the province's profile as a leading centre of creativity. Our creative industries have become a sector with great potential, which is why we are currently developing the Cape Town Innovation District that will showcase and foster design excellence in the future. We wish the City well for the final stage of the competition. Winning this title will help drive economic growth and job creation, which is one of the provincial government's most important strategic objectives."
The Cape Town Partnership and the City of Cape Town will now host a delegation of World Design Capital 2014 judges in the city towards the end of July 2011. An important stage in the process, this is when the content of the Bid Book and the city's priorities, in terms of design as a tool for social transformation, will tread its proving ground. The official announcement of the World Design Capital 2014 winner will take place on 26 October 2011.
"Winning the World Design Capital 2014 title will be an even bigger opportunity than hosting the World Cup because we will have a whole year in the global spotlight. Now we need the support and enthusiasm of Capetonians, South Africans and Africans to take us through to the title," said Makalima-Ngewana.
The Cape Town Partnership has asked that supporters "make a designerly noise" in the run up to the final stages. A digital supporter button can be downloaded on www.capetown2014.co.za
Other platforms for support include a Facebook page: Cape Town for World Design Capital or a Twitter feed:@CapeTown2014