Last Updated on May 27, 2023

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, City of Tijuana representatives, and key stakeholders from the cross-border initiative officially launched World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024 at a Signing Ceremony May 26, 2023, hosted in collaboration with World Design Organization. More than 300 design community members and civic and business leaders convened at UC San Diego’s Park and Market for the kick off event, which precedes a yearlong celebration of design beginning in 2024.

Every two years, World Design Organization, a globally recognized nongovernmental organization championing the power and promise of design, designates a World Design Capital to recognize and showcase a city or region’s effective use of design in driving economic, social, cultural and environmental progress. The cities of San Diego and Tijuana represent the first cross-border region to be designated World Design Capital and the first time a U.S. city has been selected for this prestigious distinction.

“Having been selected as the World Design Capital is a recognition of our region’s reputation for innovation and of the exciting arts and cultural offerings on both sides of the border,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. “World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024 will provide a yearlong platform to showcase design, and it will further enhance cross-border collaboration while raising the profile of our binational region on the global stage.”

Throughout 2024, a calendar of community events and seven signature events organized in partnership with the WDO will celebrate the region while advancing key transformational projects.

“This World Design Capital designation will allow us to show that there is more that unites us than divides us as we work together to tell the story of the seven million people who live and work here and as we partner on addressing the most pressing issues facing our region,” Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero said.

WDO President David Kusuma said the organization is excited to welcome San Diego and Tijuana into its global movement that highlights communities using design to enhance economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

“At WDO, we believe that San Diego and Tijuana have a powerful story to share on the international stage, especially as a model for other border cities around the world,” he said. “The World Design Capital designation will provide the region with a platform to leverage and champion design towards transformational projects.”

On June 1, 2023, a public submissions process will be launched to engage the more than seven million residents in redesigning the region through collaborative projects — from green infrastructure and design education to reimagining the border as a destination and restoring the binational river ecosystem.

The year of activities, events and programming will connect the local community around design, while addressing real-world problems such as education, regional planning and  climate change.

“This was a multi-year effort spearheaded by leaders on both sides of the border and our founding partners the UC San Diego Design Lab, the City of San Diego, the City of Tijuana, Design Forward Alliance, and the Burnham Center for Community Advancement,” Carlos de la Mora, CEO of the World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024, said.  “Being named World Design Capital is so much more than just a designation. It is a tool for transformation. We want to change the way our cross-border region thinks now and into the future. Together we will work to ensure that everything we do in 2024 will leave a lasting and meaningful legacy that will positively impact our region for years to come.”

About World Design Organization

World Design Organization is an international non-governmental organization and the international voice for industrial design. We advocate for Design for a Better World, promoting and sharing knowledge of industrial design-driven innovation that enhances the economic, social, cultural, and environmental quality of life.

Today, WDO services over 185 member organizations, representing thousands of industrial designers around the world.

About World Design Capital

Designated every two years by the World Design Organization, World Design Capital recognizes cities for their effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural, and environmental development. Through a year-long program of events, the designated city showcases best practices in sustainable design-led urban policy and innovation that have reinvented their city and improved quality of life.

Previous WDCs include Torino (Italy) in 2008, followed by 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.  The cities San Diego (USA) and Tijuana (Mexico) will jointly hold the first binational designation in 2024.

About World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024 

World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024 is the 501c3 organization convened to officially coordinate and oversee the region’s planning, programming, execution, and community involvement of the World Design Capital 2024 designation.

WDC 2024 was founded by five strategic partners: UC San Diego Design Lab, City of San Diego, City of Tijuana, Design Forward Alliance and the Burnham Center for Community Advancement. 

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