Dundee awarded Unesco City of Design title for | Scotland | News.
Dundee has become Unesco City of Design – the first in the UK to be recognised.
The prestigious award recognises the contribution the city has made to design worldwide.
The designation, which has previously been awarded to just 12 cities including Beijing, Berlin and Montréal, is awarded after a city meets tough criteria set by the United Nations organisation.
On Monday, Bilbao in Spain, Curitiba in Brazil, Helsinki in Finland and Turin in Italy have also received the same designation.
These include having an established design industry or industries, a cultural landscape fuelled by design and the built environment, design schools and design research centres, practising groups of creators and designers, and design-driven creative industries.
Dundee’s new title recognises the design innovations that it has contributed to the world, including aspirin, biomedical research that has led to hundreds of new cancer drugs, comics including The Beano and The Dandy, orange marmalade, and video games including Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto that redefined the global entertainment industry.
The city joins an exclusive international group of Unesco creative cities – a network of cities identified for their outstanding contribution to areas of creativity such as Literature and Music – and promotes cooperation between them.
Dundee has continually reinvented itself after the collapse of its heavy industries, designing a new future for itself and its citizens, including the city £1bn waterfront transformation.
At the heart of the waterfront plan is the creation of V&A Museum of Design Dundee. The city is also home to Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee Rep Theatre, McManus Art Gallery and Wasps Studios.
Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, Europe and external affairs, said: “Warm congratulations must go to everyone who has played a part in bringing this prestigious UNESCO City of Design accolade to Dundee, and indeed Scotland.
“This is a richly deserved accolade and further strengthens the city’s growing reputation as a hub of cultural and creative excellence and an international centre for the creative industries.
“Indeed, the Scottish Government has been delighted to award £15m to the V&A Dundee project, which will create local jobs and contribute significantly to the regeneration of Dundee and its Waterfront, giving the city a world-class design museum and visitor attraction.”
Through its two universities, Abertay University and the University of Dundee, design has been a prominent area of teaching and research since the 19th century when Dundee led the world in the manufacturing of jute and other textiles.
The father of modern town planning, Patrick Geddes, taught at the University of Dundee from 1888 to 1918. Geddes pioneered the improvement of urban living conditions by taking a biological approach to understanding the complexities of cities – and the health and wellbeing of their residents.
Today, numerous design initiatives are led by Dundee organisations, aimed at creating the next generation of designers across all disciplines, and keeping highly talented graduates in Dundee, creating new ideas and new companies.
Dundee City Council leader Ken Guild said: “This is tremendous news and shows truly international recognition for Dundee’s innovative design sector.
“The city’s profile will receive a huge boost and I am certain it will lead to many opportunities for Dundee. I look forward to seeing how we use this status to help take the city forward for the future.”