City Hill. Photo: Martin Ollman

Could Canberra be the next UNESCO City of Design?

As part of its overall strategic planning, Craft ACT has a longer term ambition to pursue listing of Canberra as a City of Design amongst the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

The UNESCO City of Design accolade aims to promote the development of local creative industries, and to foster relationships and resource-sharing between fellow Cities of Design. Cities of Design recognised so far include Montreal, Buenos Aires, Bilbao, Helsinki, Singapore and Beijing, among others.

City of Design status is awarded as part of the Creative Cities Network established by UNESCO in 2004, which also recognises contributions to literature, art, music, film and gastronomy. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

To achieve City of Design status, cities must meet criteria defined by UNESCO that includes having a thriving design industry fed by design schools and research centres, and practising groups of creators and designers.