Tijuana and San Diego announced as first ever joint World Design Capital

The two cities will assume the mantle in 2024, following in the footsteps of former title holders including Lille Metropole, Taipei, Mexico City and Cape Town.

San Diego, USA and Tijuana, Mexico have jointly been named as World Design Capital for 2024.

The title of World Design Capital is awarded every two years, by the World Design Organisation (WDO) and aims to recognise cities for their effective use of design in driving economic, social, cultural and environmental prosperity. A year long programme of activity is organised to leverage this.

News of the appointment marks the first time a binational capital has been designated. The joint application was ultimately chosen as a result of the two cities’ “commitment to human-centred design and legacy of cross-border collaboration”, according to the WDO.

“More alike than they are different”

The San Diego-Tijuana bid for World Design Capital was entered by the Design Forward Alliance, an organisation dedicated to encouraging human-centred design as a means to improve economic, social and civic life within the community of the two cities.

Design Forward Alliance has named the theme of celebrations and events taking place during 2024 as HOME – which it says stands for Human-centred, Open, Multidisciplinary/Multicultural and Experimental.

“This is about showing the world that we are more than just a border or two border cities,” says Design Forward Alliance president Michèle Morris. “We are one regional home to seven million people who are more alike than they are different, and who partner in many incredible and ground-breaking ways.”

The “Olympics of design and innovation”

Describing the opportunity as the “Olympics of design and innovation”, the Design Forward Alliance already has a suite of projects that will make up 2024’s programme of events.

This includes the rebuilding of Friendship Park – a half-acre park that is currently closed at the San Diego-Tijuana border – and future projects for other community spaces. Additionally, the winning bid also stated the desire to find design-oriented responses to homelessness in the area.

Other events earmarked for celebrations include an opening and closing ceremony, a street festival “kick-off”, a seven-day international design showcase and networking opportunities between the region and previous design capital cities.

Alongside the packed cultural calendar, the designation as World Design Capital also brings a host of economic benefits. Design Forward Alliance predicts the title will result in more than 1.4 million overnight visits booked in the area, 46,000 direct jobs being created and maintains and a total economic impact of $1.5 billion (around £1.1 billion).

The ninth World Design Capital

San Diego and Tijuana’s stint at World Design Capital will mark the ninth cycle of the international programme. The two cities won the title over Moscow, Russia – the WDO says the decision was a difficult one, and that it now plans to work with the city to establish other design programmes in due course.

Ahead of 2024, the mantle will pass to Valencia, Spain, which will hold the title throughout 2022 with a fallow year in between.

Banner image from Shutterstock.

Start the discussionStart the discussion
  • Post a comment

Latest articles