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World Design Capital

Launched as an initiative by the Design Forward Alliance in partnership with the UCSD Design Lab and a bi-national group of partners, San Diego-Tijuana are jointly bidding to host the coveted World Design Capital designation in 2024. We welcome local and global participants to join us in using human-centered design to celebrate and transform the cross-border cities.

San Diego-Tijuana has a legacy of (re)designing the future together. Our proximity creates a special bond balanced in diversity and synergy. Our shared ecosystem is environmental, economic, technological, social, political, and cultural. We want to build upon and share the model for large-scale human-centered design and innovation, cross-border interdependence, cultural fusion, and complex systems transformation with the world.

Welcome to our HOMEHuman-centered, Open, Multi-disciplinary/multi-cultural, and Experimental.

Visit the HOME 2024 website.

Learn More: Design Forward Alliance

World Design Capital Update: July 13, 2021


The San Diego-Tijuana region has been selected as one of two shortlisted finalists that will move on to the next round of evaluation in the bid to become the World Design Capital (WDC) in 2024. The World Design Organization (WDO) announced that San Diego-Tijuana was chosen based on its approach to human-centered design, its use of design as a vehicle for improved quality of life, and commitment to cross-border collaboration.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to not only showcase our binational region as a longstanding design and innovation powerhouse, but to also shape the narrative around what it means to be a 21st century metropolis,” said Michèle Morris, president of the Design Forward Alliance. “Our region is uniquely positioned to face the complex social challenges of our time by utilizing the broad spectrum of design practices that thrive here, including arts and culture, applied design, urban and environmental planning, user experience, systems design, design strategy, innovation, and more. The San Diego-Tijuana bid aligns with our regional values, priorities, and communities to design and support our future.”

The shortlist, which includes San Diego-Tijuana and Moscow, Russia, was established by the WDC 2024 Selection Committee, an appointed group of international experts in design, architecture, smart cities and urban development. The criteria used to evaluate each bid includes opportunity for public benefit in design-led city planning; the city’s capacity to organize and finance a year-long program of design events; the mobilization and participation of the wider local design community, large sectors of the population and visitors; and the city’s capacity to foster of a wider dialog on urban revitalization strategies.

As part of the shortlist evaluation process, the WDO will visit the San Diego-Tijuana region to meet with bid organizers and region representatives to verify information provided in the bid and experience a sample of what the designation year will encompass. The winning city will be named in October 2021.

The Design Forward Alliance, in partnership with the UCSD Design Lab and Burnham Center for Community Advancement, spearheaded a binational team of designers, innovators, and civic leaders for the WDC 2024 bid preparation and submission. The potential overall economic impact of the year-long designation is estimated at approximately $1.5 billion.

The San Diego-Tijuana bid, the first-ever binational submission, is centered on the theme of HOME, which stands for the set of values that shape the region’s design approach: Human-Centered, Open, Multi-disciplinary/Multicultural, and Experimental. Visit the bid website,, to learn more about the submission.

Previous WDCs include Torino, Italy in 2008, Seoul, South Korea in 2010, Helsinki, Finland in 2012, Cape Town, South Africa in 2014, Taipei, Taiwan in 2016, Mexico City, Mexico in 2018, and Lille Metropole, France in 2020. Valencia, Spain has been awarded the designation for 2022.

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