Cape Town’s bid story

The City of Cape Town's successful bid for World Design Capital 2014 was coordinated by the Cape Town Partnership, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders and supporters.

What World Design Capital 2014 isn't

Cape Town has just been named World Design Capital in 2014 and there's been much celebration in the Mother City. There's also been a lot of debate about what this means. Creative Cape Town explored this further and released: A beginner's guide to what World Design Capital 2014 isn't.

Cape Town has just been named World Design Capital in 2014 - topping two other shortlisted contenders, Dublin and Bilbao, and over 50 other cities who took part in the bid - and there's been much celebration in the Mother City. There's also been a lot of debate about what this means, and how Cape Town should proceed. The back-and-forth inspired this topic: A beginner's guide to what World Design Capital 2014 isn't.

It isn't an award

Winning the right to be called World Design Capital in 2014 doesn't mean Cape Town is unequivocally a design city forever after, amen. It doesn't mean we can now rest on our laurels, and wait for the design world to come to us, expecting that jobs and exposure and cross-continental collaboration will naturally follow.

It isn't an event

This is not the World Cup - not simply a mega-event or a series of events in which Cape Town appears for a time on the international calendar. Firstly, Cape Town already has those signature design events - Design Indaba being a case in point. Yes, there will be key events on the 2014 calendar, anchored by the many exciting design -and creative industries - events Cape Town already plays host to. But the real focus of World Design Capital 2014 is the legacy it will leave. If the clock strikes midnight on 31 December 2014 in Cape Town, and we are left unchanged, then we will have lost, not won, the opportunity to be World Design Capital 2014.

It isn't an ego trip

Ask not what World Design Capital can do for you, but what you can do for World Design Capital. There will be opportunities to submit current and future projects for inclusion, to be involved as an individual or an organisation - stay tuned to for details - but in the end it's the collaborative, the collective good, the communities that count.

So what is it?

It's a tool: to reimagine and reinvent a Cape Town more inclusive of all its communities. There is much that we will need to do to prepare for our increasingly urban future. Our earthly population hit 7-billion this month and in the developing world, around 5-million people move to cities every month - too large a number of them to slums on the edges of cities, with inadequate access to water and sanitation facilities, yet still choosing to live there because they believe in the economic opportunities cities present. As we prepare for this future in the Mother City, help to build access - to services and opportunity - and ensure our city is sustainable and resilient, design is a powerful tool and frame of mind to inform our decisions and our decision makers. Designers need to play an integral part in reimagining an inclusive city - a Cape Town that is rebuilt, reconnected, repositioned and ready for whatever the future holds.

It's a deadline: 2014 marks 20 years of democracy, an opportunity to reflect on where we've come as a nation, a city, a community, and how we'd like to design our future. World Design Capital in Cape Town is an opportunity to set deadlines to our big picture, design-minded thinking while not compromising our long-term strategic planning - just look at what we achieved through collaboration and the collective desire to meet 2010 World Cup deadlines, and how that has helped transform the city.

It's a designation with the potential to become a movement: If you consider the word designation - an appointment, a title, a nomination - it contains both the words design and nation. World Design Capital in Cape Town has the potential to birth and become a nation, a movement, of design professionals and design-minded citizens, committed to making social change in their communities. 2014 has to start now, and we're all a part of it.

Join the movement: Online: On Facebook: CT4WDC On Twitter: @CapeTown2014, #wdc2014

What makes Cape Town a design city? A visual journey

Go back in time to hear what these thought leaders had to say on the topic as part of the Creative Cape Town Clusters at Design Indaba 2009: 

Now watch the video that played when Cape Town was announced World Design Capital 2014 at the IDA Congress in Taipei:

Photo of Faith47's artwork by Rowan Pybus: