We will need to put a bid book together by February 2011. We’ll no doubt be up against some of the top design cities in the world, and it won’t be easy. Already, the City of Bilbao has indicated that they may put in a bid. The past three winners – Turin, Seoul and Helsinki – are all cities with a heavy industrial design base and strong design tradition. If Cape Town is going to be a contender, we will have to change the rules of the game.
We need to look at the role of design beyond aesthetics and products. As Ravi Naidoo, founder of the Design Indaba says: “Design is too important to be left to the designers. We don’t need more stuff – we need problem-solving tools”. Hence, for example, successfully designing and implementing a car-competitive Integrated Rapid Transit System in our city to give citizens greater access and mobility is one of the key city design challenges of our time.
We are also going to have to considerably up our game. As Mokena Makeka, a leading Cape Town architect says: “We need to think bigger than we ever have before, and not show Cape Town as it is, but as it could be! The pursuit of excellence can be bruising, but that is design… We can win if we abandon the safety of mediocrity. We can claim our space and win the battle. OK is not OK.”
For more information on Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid, see the Creative Cape Town webpage. From 23 February, a dedicated website http://www.capetown2014.co.za/ will be up and running where anyone wanting to get involved in the Bid can register their interest.