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Opinion: Becoming a World Design Capital would improve life in San Diego-Tijuana

San Diego Union Tribune Op-Ed by Mayor Todd Gloria

I believe that San Diego is one of the world’s greatest cities, and together with our sister city Tijuana, we form a dynamic, multicultural area unlike anywhere else. Both as a lifelong San Diegan and the mayor of San Diego, I am proud that our city is one of two finalists in the running to be selected as the World Design Capital in 2024. Earning this designation would highlight the unique character of our binational region and show the entire world that our diversity is our strength.

Just as design has continued to address complex challenges at our border and between our cities, we continue to improve the quality of life in San Diego through thoughtful, human-centered design. The transformation of the Plaza de Panama at Balboa Park, Waterfront Park and Liberty Station are only a few examples of how we’ve begun to think about public space differently in San Diego over the last decade.
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Opinion: The World Design Capital is more than an award. It’s a chance to solve problems.

San Diego Union Tribune Op-Ed by Tad Parzen and Eddie Matthews*
*Eddie Matthews is also a Designer-in-Residence with the UCSD Design Lab


Design and discovery are in our San Diego-Tijuana region’s DNA. We are risk-takers, a nimble community that has long fostered life-changing design and innovation to improve the world, save lives and sustain critical resources. San Diego-Tijuana has long been the epicenter of a binational design revolution.

In this inclusive spirit, a cross-border community of designers, activists and community leaders have joined together to submit the first binational bid to the World Design Organization to name San Diego-Tijuana the World Design Capital in 2024. This designation recognizes cities for their effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural and environmental development, and showcases best practices in sustainable, human-centered policy and innovation.

Every member of this region has something to contribute and the World Design Capital will be the centralized place for these binational design contributions, making the border immaterial by making design visible.
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San Diego/Tijuana Is Finalist To Become A World Design Capital

San Diego/Tijuana is finalist to become a World Design Capital

San Diego Union Tribune

The San Diego/Tijuana region is a finalist to become a World Design Capital that could mean a year-long promotion of the binational region.

Winners are chosen based on how each region effectively incorporates design across their economic, technological, social, cultural, political and environmental sectors . More than just having a fancy title, winning means a year of events to promote the region, including a street festival, a one-day celebration highlighting the winner’s designs and a design conference that should bring people from around the globe.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to not only showcase our bi-national region as a longstanding design and innovation powerhouse,” she wrote, “but to also shape the narrative around what it means to be a 21st century metropolis, [says Michèle Morris, President of the Design Forward Alliance and Associate Director of UCSD Design Lab]."
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San Diego -- Tijuana

Can San Diego — Tijuana region be World Design Capital?

Read the San Diego Union Tribune article by columnist Diane Bell about the World Design Capital bid.

San Diego, together with Tijuana, has placed a bid to be designated the 2024 World Design Capital , a selection that will be finalized this October.

A San Diego nonprofit called the Design Forward Alliance was created with the help of numerous community and design groups to coordinate with Tijuana representatives and prepare the bid package.

Michèle Morris, associate director of the UCSD Design Lab and president of the Design Forward Alliance, is very optimistic about this region’s chances for success.

“We do feel confident that we will make the short list,” she says. Morris also is associate director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego, which helped launch the alliance in 2016 following an inaugural Design Forward Summit in downtown San Diego.

Win or lose, Morris notes that the bidding process has strengthened ties and fostered new creative ideas for our region.
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