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Cape Town Design Capital 2014

Cape Town is situated right at the bottom of Africa. This small city is out to make a difference and compete with the rest of the world. Cape Town recently won the Design Capital of the World title for 2014.

What is the World Design Capital?

This concept came about as the world became more urbanised and the need for design in these new cities became ever more important. The aim of this project is to celebrate and recognise the cities that have used design well to uplift communities and the area around them. The city that gets chosen is then shown off to the rest of the world with thorough examples of what they have accomplished. The World Design Capital would also like to promote a global understanding of what design can do for a city in terms of social and economic improvements. Benefits for the winning city would include a huge tourism boost, social and cultural improvements and overall enhancing of urban spaces. Previous winners of this event include Torino, Seoul and currently Helsinki. This award is given bi-annually by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID).

Why Cape Town decided to bid?

Cape Town’s main aim in bidding for the Design Capital was to promote the city on a broader scale in terms of its innovation, creativity and knowledge. The city no longer only wanted to be branded for its beauty and leisure. They want to be known as a business, design and knowledge hub of the world. The concept they used was “Live Design, Transform Life”, which focused on the apartheid era and how Cape Town is currently dealing with the imbalances in the city. They had three main themes that they focused on: Build a cohesive community within Cape Town,; Connect Cape Town through enhanced infrastructure; and position Cape Town as a knowledge economy.

Why Cape Town was chosen?

Since 1994 the City of Cape Town has grown bigger than New York to reach a total of 3.6 million people. Therefore the city quickly took charge in redesigning itself to cope with the amount of people. Due to the Soccer World Cup being hosted in South Africa certain changes had to be made in the city, over the four years of renovations it become a cosmopolitan city filled with world class infrastructure. It showed to be a city filled with creative talent, innovation and rich culture that was used to their benefit. Cape Towns’ mayor Patricia de Lille says, “Creative industries make up an important aspect of the local economy, winning the Design Capital exposes our talents and in turn develops our local industry into an asset for decades to come.”

Overall Cape Town showed design that was practical and human centred, in order to solve real problems prevalent in the city. World Design Capital saw the way that Cape Town can inspire the world. The year 2014 marks twenty years of freedom for the people of South Africa; this makes it even more special and important.


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