“Cape Town has many challenges but with that comes opportunities to bridge the divide while using creativity as a tool to create a better world.”
This was the sentiment put forth by the Design Indaba team when Cape Town was chosen as the first city in Africa to be named a UNESCO City of Design.
Launched in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network aims to foster international cooperation with and between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network now counts a total of 180 cities in 72 countries. Cape Town joins a group of 31 UNESCO Cities of Design across the world.
Other cities who received designation this year include Brasilia (Brazil), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Greater Geelong (Australia), Istanbul (Turkey), Kolding (Denmark), Kortrijk (Belgium), Mexico City (Mexico) and Wuhan (China). Durban, the only other South African city included in the Network, was admitted as a UNESCO City of Literature.
“As an organisation that believes in the power of creativity to unlock the economic potential of our city, Design Indaba could not think of a better opportunity for the City of Cape Town than to be a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network,” said the Design Indaba team.
“Throughout the 22 years of hosting the biggest design festival in the world right here in Cape Town, we can attest that this is a great city for design.”
For the city, the announcement is an opportunity to recognise that creativity and culture are critical components in shaping Cape Town as a thriving and resilient city.
“Being part of the Network will help create valuable partnerships; coordinate, focus and grow Cape Town’s local design sector; share and create knowledge, grow new markets and have an impact on Cape Town’s ability to achieve inclusive, urban sustainable development,” said the City’s mayor Patricia de Lille.
Within the framework of the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, the Network provides a platform for cities to demonstrate culture’s role as an enabler for building sustainable cities.
To this aim, Design Indaba is deeply engaged in demonstrating the power of creativity. Most recently, the team launched the Arch for Arch project, a physical monument dedicated to Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his birthday.
Design Indaba also ran the 10x10 Low Cost Housing project as a blueprint for dignified housing for the poor, and the SONOP project, which showed that a rural school could be taken off the grid to its benefit.
And with #ANOTHERLIGHTUP Design Indaba teamed up with Faith47 and Thingking to combine public art with the potential of crowdfunding to build streetlights in Khayelitsha.