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  • Mayoral delegates from around the world gather in Seoul

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    The ‘WDC World Design Cities Summit’ was held in Seoul for the first time on Feb. 23 with mayors, policymakers and other leading officials from around the world attending.

    Under the theme of ‘Design and Cities: Designing a Competitive City for the 21st Century,’ the WDC World Design Cities Summit’ was a large-scale international conference and one of official events organized by Seoul City to mark the city’s appointment as the ‘2010 World Design Capital.’ A total of 131 delegates from 31 cities in 17 countries, which have achieved urban development through design or have prioritized design for their future development strategy, including Turin, Helsinki and Beijing, gathered in Seoul to attend the summit.

    Among the major participating cities were Turin of Italy, which was appointed as the pilot city for the World Design Capital in 2008; Helsinki of Finland, which will assume the title of the World Design Capital in 2012; and Eindhoven of the Netherlands, which had competed with Helsinki to win the title for 2012. Also included were Montreal, Buenos Aires, Shenzhen, Nagoya and Kobe, five of the six cities that have won the title of ‘UNESCO City of Design.’

    In particular, eight cities in China, including Beijing, which has shown its interest in winning the World Design Capital for 2014, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Yanji, Guangdong Province and Hangzhou, attended the summit, indicating the keen interest of these cities in urban design.

    At the summit held at the Seoul Grand Hyatt (Hotel), mayors and representatives from the major design cities from around the world unveiled the achievements made in reshaping their cities and in-depth discussions about urban development were held.

    On the first day of the summit, Matthias Horx, one of the most influenced futurists in Europe, gave a keynote speech on the theme of ‘Design and the Future: How Design Changes the World.’ Following this, there were two plenary sessions – one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. At the morning plenary session, the mayors from Turin and Helsinki discussed how a city should be developed through design under the theme of ‘World Design Capitals.’ At the afternoon session, the mayors from five cities, including Eindhoven and Beijing, cited design examples in their respective cities under the theme of ‘Caring for Citizens in a Future Design City.’ Following the two plenary sessions, three additional sessions under the themes of ‘Design & Urban Development,’ ‘Design & Business’ and ‘Design & Quality of Life’ were also held.

    On the morning of Feb. 24, the participating mayors and representatives held the Mayor’s Round Table and summarized the results of the summit. They then signed the ‘Seoul Design Declaration,’ which provides ways to develop cities through design.

    And there was a joint press conference with mayors from Seoul, Turin, Helsinki, Matthias Horx and Chris Wainwright, dean of the School of Art at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. On the afternoon of Feb. 24, participants toured the major aesthetic sites in Seoul, including Dongdaemun History & Culture Park and Gwanghwamun Square, where the city government had made extensive efforts to reshape the city through design.

    As the ‘2010 World Design Capital,’ Seoul City plans to raise its global profile as a design-focused city in the wake of hosting the ‘WDC World Design Cities Summit.’ Meanwhile, the city plans to promote its brand as a design city by holding a variety of design-related events and exhibitions in 2010.

    The Seoul Declaration of Design City