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Mexico City Named The World Design Capital For 2018

Picture of Lauren Cocking
Mexico Writer
Updated: 7 November 2016
Earlier this year, Mexico City beat out strong competition from another Latin American destination to be named the Americas’ first World Design Capital. This biannual honour is to be bestowed on the Mexican capital in 2018, and will no doubt draw even greater global attention to the city that the New York Times named 2016’s top traveller destination.

The underlying intention of the World Design Capital initiative, which began back in 2008 and has so far bestowed its eponymous title onto six cities worldwide, is to promote the use of design as an effective tool for social, economic and cultural development. Cities which can effectively demonstrate their ability to use design in such a way, through projects that can be applied in other cities across the world, are elected biannually as the World Design Capital.

The principal reason Mexico City was bestowed with this prestigious honour was due to its use of design in several public spheres such as security, health and communications, with one great example being the newly introduced bike sharing scheme. Officials involved with the programme also acknowledge that ‘Mexico City has a powerful story to share on the world stage, as a model for other megacities around the world using design to tackle the challenges of urbanization and ensure a more liveable city.’

Ecobicis, Mexico City │
Ecobicis, Mexico City │ | © mariordo59/Flickr

However, another equally compelling reason for which Mexico City left its strong and only contender, Curitiba, Brazil, by the wayside is that the bid was supported by the wider Mexican design community. This most notably includes the non-profit organisation, Design Week Mexico, that launched the city’s bid in the first place. Even though Curitiba was a destination with a history of design-led urban planning, according to official WDC reports, it wasn’t strong enough to fight back against the on-the-rise Mexican capital.

Oscar Niemayer museum, Curitiba, Brazil │
Oscar Niemayer museum, Curitiba, Brazil │ | © Michael Anranter/Flickr

At the signing ceremony which officially confirmed Mexico City as the World Design Capital in March of this year, the city’s signature colour was unveiled; a deep shade of pink. It’s no coincidence that just recently official taxis became pink and white and the newly appointed official acronym for the city – CDMX – sprung up everywhere in various hues of magenta; in fact, this deliberate election of pink by the WDC committee for Mexico only reinforces the collaboration between design and social spheres.

[ C D M X ] #CDMX #MexicoCity #WorldDesignCapital2018

A photo posted by Adolfo Mendoza Avilés (@admeav) on

As a result of being named the World Design Capital the authorities intend to continue breathing new life into impoverished and run down areas of the city, using design as the tool to do so. The official theme of the WDC year in Mexico City is expected to be revealed before the new year.