Over the last few years, excitement has been growing in the Southwest as San Diego/Tijuana was named World Design Capital 2024 by the World Design Organization. This prestigious designation is given every two years to a host city that showcases design’s impact on its economic, social, cultural, and environmental development. San Diego/Tijuana joins eight other international cities, and is the first U.S. city designation and the first bi-national designation, recognizing our region’s close cross-border design ties. Other cities that have received the designation include Torino (Italy) in 2008, Seoul (South Korea) in 2010, Helsinki (Finland) in 2012, Cape Town (South Africa) in 2014, Taipei (Taiwan, Chinese Taipei) in 2016, Mexico City (Mexico) in 2018, Lille Metropole (France) in 2020 and Valencia (Spain) in 2022.
In May of 2023, a Signage Ceremony sealed the deal and city officials from both San Diego and Tijuana, a representative from the World Design Organization, and leadership of the WDC San Diego/Tijuana program came together to officially sign the declaration. Many important design leaders and community representatives met to launch what is becoming one of the most important design celebrations in this region.
The World Design Capital (WDC) programming for 2024 includes several key spotlight events and a wide array of cross-border community events, exhibitions, activations, and symposia centered on the power of design in the San Diego/Tijuana region. A full calendar of events is available on the WDC2024 website, with more coming as the year progresses. Among official programming is a World Design Spotlight, Design Weeks in San Diego and Tijuana, World Design Policy Conference, Network of Cities Meeting, and a Convocation Ceremony. A WDC Club for young designers, a Grant Program, and a Legacy Program promise to help carry WDC San Diego/Tijuana into the future by investing and supporting ongoing initiatives aimed to transform the region.
All WDC programming is possible through the leadership and partnership with the City of San Diego, UC San Diego Design Lab, Burnham Center for Community Advancement, Design Forward Alliance, and City of Tijuana, as well as numerous community supporters. Local design firms, design-focused organizations, and individual community members of various interests and expertise have stepped up to help bolster this immensely important initiative.
The SEGD San Diego Chapter has been working in the background to connect the variety of organizations and entities planning this year’s exciting events. We want our unique SEGD voice to be a part of these important design conversations! If you know of an important project recently completed or under development in San Diego and the Tijuana region, please reach out to our San Diego Chapter Chairs, Chris McCampbell and Patrick Mulholland, to see how we can help highlight SEGD’s important influence on design.
There is more to come as events and programming develop throughout the year. Look for future posts to share the excitement and impact being experienced in this region.