Shenzhen won City of Design

SHENZHEN has been named a UNESCO City of Design, becoming the first Chinese city to win the honor.


The city has become a member of the Creative Cities Network, Abhimanyu Singh, director of UNESCO office in Beijing, announced at a press conference in Beijing Nov.19.2008.


Koichiro Matsuura, director-general of UNESCO, designated Shenzhen City of Design on Nov. 19.2008 in a letter sent to Shenzhen.


A panel of experts in UNESCO acknowledged Shenzhen for its capacity as a fast-growing city, with a short yet dynamic history and young population, the letter said.


The city holds a solid position in the design sector, with its vibrant graphic and industrial design industry, rapid development in digital content and online interactive design, and reputation for novel practices in packaging design with advanced techniques and environmental solutions.


Zhang Xinsheng, director of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO and vice minister of education, congratulated Shenzhen on winning the honor.


“Communicating and cooperating with other members of UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Shenzhen will again be a window to show Chinese design and innovation to the world,” said Zhang at the conference. “The award will also have positive influence on the city’s innovative industry.”


Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng said the city was given the title because it was the innovative model city in China.


Xu said Premier Wen Jiabao praised the city’s innovation when he visited Shenzhen in November.


Xu said the city would establish State-level creative industrial bases to train design practi-tioners, and design exhibitions and competitions will be held to improve international cooperation.


In addition, campaigns will be launched to encourage residents to get involved in the creative industry, according to him.


Five other cities have also won the title, Buenos Aires of Argentina, Berlin of Germany, Montreal of Canada and Kobe and Nagoya of Japan.


Shenzhen proposed developing the city into a City of Design in 2004, aiming to boost economic development through the design industry after it took the lead in the nation with the slogan, “Building a culture-based city,” Vice Mayor Yan Xiaopei said.


Yan said Shenzhen began to research the application process and objectives of City of Design at the end of 2006 and officially handed in the application in Paris on May 6, 2008.


UNESCO established the Creative Cities Network at the end of 2004 to support social, economic and cultural development. The cities that join the network promote their local creative scene, share their experience with a wider audience and create new opportunities, especially in collaboration with other member cities, to drive joint development results for creative industries. The development of partnerships between the public and private sectors is a key feature of the network.


The Creative Cities Network encourages the development of creative industries in such fields as music, literature, design, film, gastronomy and media. The network now has 16 members in the world. Many cities in China are striving to join the network. Shanghai has also applied to be a City of Design, Xiamen for City of Music and Chengdu for City of Gastronomy.”