Friday, October 16, 2009

The City of Helsinki wants to become World Design Capital 2012

Article from Helsingin Sanomat written by Markku Karumo 19.8.2009:

The City of Helsinki did not fail to make an impression on the two representatives of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) who paid a visit to the Finnish capital last week in order to discuss the city’s prospects for becoming World Design Capital (WDC) in 2012. ”Especially Helsinki’s district of Arabianranta made an impact on us”, says Professor Peter Zec, the father of the worldwide design capital idea.

Zec evaluated the content of Helsinki’s application for two days together with Dilki de Silva, the Secretary-General of the ICSID. ”What is important is the content of the entire application package, not individual questions”, de Silva explained. The two visitors have also talked with Helsinki residents, trying to define how committed the various parties involved really are. Helsinki is not applying for the title alone. Other Finnish candidates behind the joint application are Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen, and Lahti.

Helsinki’s 350-page application introduces the Finnish capital and its partners extensively. The central idea is to show how comprehensive the cities’ design is and how design has been taken into consideration in all planning. If Helsinki were to be designated for World Design Capital 2012, the choice would bring along a number of design-related events. The estimated budget for the year is EUR 15 million. Among a total of 46 applicants, the Dutch city of Eindhoven and the city of Helsinki were selected for the shortlist of entries that will move on to the next round of evaluation in the hopes of becoming World Design Capital in 2012.

Zec and de Silva visited many places in Helsinki: the contemporary art museum Kiasma, the Design Museum, Finlandia Hall, and the University of Helsinki. The strength of Arabianranta was in the combination of education, business, and living. ”Helsinki has a good reputation”, Zec remarked.”Finnish design is well-known. It has traditions, and it is present in education and research.There are also many foreign students in Helsinki”, Zec continued.Zec noted further that Eindhoven’s application was very similar to that of Helsinki. ”There, too, design is present in planning and research. Eindhoven citizens also want to have an open design-related year, in which it would be easy for local residents to take part”, Zec stated.

Zec and de Silva are to submit their report to the actual jury that is contemplating the name of the future design capital in Montreal. The jury includes design experts from Chile, France, Brazil, Britain, and South Korea. Following deliberations, the announcement of selection is to take place at the ICSID World Design Congress in Singapore on November 25th.

The purpose of the World Design Capital project is to highlight the accomplishments of cities that are genuinely leveraging design as a tool to improve the social, cultural, and economic life of cities, throughout a year-long programme of design-related events. The City of Seoul in South Korea has been designated World Design Capital for 2010.

You will find the original article from here.
More information also here.

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