Proclamation signing ceremony
Mayor Todd Gloria and other dignitaries celebrate signing of a proclamation naming San Diego and Tijuana a World Design Capital. Photo by Katie Gardner.

The San Diego-Tijuana bi-national region’s designation as the 7th World Design Capital was officially proclaimed on Friday with a signing ceremony in downtown San Diego.

It’s the first time a bi-national region has been recognized, and the first time a U.S. city has shared the designation.

The title, awarded every two years by the World Design Organization, recognizes cities for effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural, and environmental development.

“We believe that San Diego and Tijuana have a powerful story to share on the international stage, especially as a model for other border cities around the world,” said David Kusuma, president of the Montreal-based design organization.

Earlier recipients include Turin, Italy; Seoul, South Korea; Helsinki, Finland; Cape Town, South Africa; Taipei, Taiwan; Mexico City and Lilli, France.

“Having been selected as the World Design Capital is a recognition of our region’s reputation for innovation and of the exciting arts and cultural offerings on both sides of the border,” said Mayor Todd Gloria.

“This World Design Capital designation will allow us to show that there is more that unites us than divides us as we work together to tell the story of the 7 million people who live and work here and as we partner on addressing the most pressing issues facing our region,” said Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero.

Throughout 2024, a calendar of community events and seven signature events organized in partnership with the World Design Organization will celebrate the region while advancing significant economic, social, cultural, and environmental projects. The public is invited to submit ideas for projects during the year.

The effort to win the designation was led by the UC San Diego Design Lab, the cities of San Diego and Tijuana, Design Forward Alliance, and the Burnham Center for Community Advancement.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.