Five new metropolises have been named as part of UNESCO’s City of Design program, an award meant to recognize cities’ contributions to the design world and foster cooperation between some of the great epicenters of design worldwide. Dundee, Scotland; Turin, Italy; Bilbao, Spain; Helsinki, Finland; and Curitiba, Brazil have now been designated Cities of Design, joining 12 other international urban meccas for creative design, including Berlin, Seoul, and Montreal.
Dundee, Scotland, was the birthplace of inventions like aspirin and the video game Grant Theft Auto, and will soon be home to the U.K.’s first design museum outside of London, the V&A Museum of Design Dundee. Turin, Italy, has previously been named a World Design Capital by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design for its design research centers and laboratories in robotics, automotive modeling and prototyping, virtual reality, cinematography, and more. Bilbao, Spain, is famous for its Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, a powerful destination for design tourism. Curitiba, a state capital in Brazil, has been lauded for its urban design work in managing rapid city growth (the city pioneered Bus Rapid Transit). Helsinki, another former World Design Capital, is home to its own design week, a dedicated design district, and a rousing controversy over plans for a Guggenheim outpost.
The UNESCO City of Design designation recognizes cities with established design industries–in fields like architecture, fashion, jewelry, urban design, interaction design, and sustainability–educational facilities like research centers and design schools, a community of working designers. (Since 2004, the heritage organization has awarded similar “creative cities” distinctions to cities for their contributions to literature, film, gastronomy, and other arts.) Each of the cities announced today in Paris are the first cities in their respective countries to receive the City of Design designation.