I will say it fairly, it grows on me with every year: there are no stars so lovely as Edinburgh street-lamps.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Berlin, Germany - UNESCO City of Design

As the first German city to be appointed to the Network, Berlin has demonstrated remarkable social, economic and cultural achievements in the field of design, and as a crossroad of diverse backgrounds and histories, Berlin's design tradition and contemporary creation have influenced both national and international movements.  With a good grasp of the economic impact of its design industry, the city of Berlin has made great strides in coordinating policy, training and networking support for its stakeholders.

Buenos Aires, Argentina - UNESCO City of Design

Through public-private collaboration, the city of Buenos Aires has been able to harness the energy and innovation of its design sector for development initiatives on a local, regional and international level. Not only has the city diversified its economic growth potential, but it has also engaged a broad array of stakeholders in building one of the most vibrant and dynamic design scenes in Latin America. As a crossroad of diverse backgrounds, histories, people and ethnicities, the city of Buenos Aires has been capturing the essence of diversity and creativity in order to develop one of the most viable and productive design industries in the South American continent. Spanning the fields of fashion, architecture, industrial, interior and urban design with a keen focus on incorporating the latest technology and know-how, Buenos Aires is a city that inspires design.

Graz, Austria- UNESCO City of Design

The City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg bear witness to an exemplary model of the living heritage of a central European urban complex influenced by the secular presence of the Habsburgs and the cultural and artistic role played by the main aristocratic families. They are a harmonious blend of the architectural styles and artistic movements that have succeeded each other from the Middle Ages until the 18th century, from the many neighbouring regions of Central and Mediterranean Europe. They embody a diversified and highly comprehensive ensemble of architectural, decorative and landscape examples of these interchanges of influence.

Kobe, Japan - UNESCO City of Design

Kobe has a unique creative and open-minded culture in part due to its active introduction of foreign cultures since the 1860s, when Japan opened its ports to the world. Kobe, one of the five ports, has ever since willed itself as a gateway to Japan. The citizens of Kobe participate in the creative life of their city. This was clearly seen after the 1995 earthquake that destroyed great parts of Kobe, when the citizens actively participated in rebuilding their city.

Montreal, Canada - UNESCO City of Design

In May 2006 the city of Montreal was appointed a UNESCO City of Design.  Even the city itself acknowledges that design in Montreal is not simply for show but a source of daily well-being.  Not only has Montreal demonstrated that design can be a powerful tool in promoting inclusion and plurality of values, but the city has also called upon its citizens to play a critical and active part in mobilising design to inspire more innovative living environments that enhance daily life and existence. The city exudes great economic and social development potential through the engine of design, and there is no doubt that it is backed by the support and involvement of its public, private and civil society sectors.   

Nagoya, Japan - UNESCO City of Design

Since modern times, Nagoya has maintained a functional urban infrastructure and has gone on to use design to promote international exchange through many international activities. The International Design Center, a hub for creative design, opened in Nagoya after its Design City Declaration of 1989. In 1999, the city abandoned plans for the construction of a landfill and chose to protect a wetland area abundant in nature, and since then, the city, along with residents and businesses, has been seeking sustainable design, a balance between development and the environment.

Saint-Etienne, France - UNESCO City of Design

 Saint-Etienne boasts of design oriented urban frame implementing inter-disciplinary approach to design, which results in good practices of creative collaboration between the academic field and industry. The city has constantly made efforts to reinvent itself through design with the support of small and medium-sized creative enterprises and concrete initiatives dedicated to design such as the Cité du design and the International Design Biennale.

Seoul, South Korea - UNESCO City of Design

Seoul, recognized as a design-driven centre, has a vision to become an eco-cultural city based on advanced IT infrastructures. With design-oriented urban policies, public urban design standards, design education practices and an urban strategy of “culture economics”, the city is constantly raising awareness among the public about the importance of design and its role in enhancing the quality of life.

Shanghai, China - UNESCO City of Design

“SHANG” in Chinese means upward, top and avant-garde and “HAI” means ocean, implying an inclusive and open-minded attitude. Shanghai has gradually formed an open and inclusive attitude with an avant-garde spirit, where East meets West in this international metropolis. Design is always a key element that influences the manufacturing and service industries in Shanghai and China, which promotes the development of the economy and leads the city lifestyle. From the design of products and production technics in the beginning, to the design of city planning and lifestyle, the design industry is influencing all aspects of the industries, the architectures, the economy, the city and the life of people.

Shenzhen, China - UNESCO City of Design

Shenzhen is a major design hub and one of the leading cities in China. The city, once an ordinary border town neighboring Hong Kong, was chosen as China's first special economic zone on August 26th, 1980. As the vanguard spearheading China's reform and opening up policy, the city is regarded as the model for the country's economic success over the past three decades. Shenzhen itself was "designed" by Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of the policy.