International Design Alliance Congress: Design at the Edges

“Design without humanity is meaningless,” was the principal message during the keynote address and discussions on the first morning of the International Design Alliance Congress (IDA) in Taipei.

The IDA Congress (October 24 to 27) is abuzz with the theme, Design at the Edges, deliberating the linkages between different design disciplines – specifically communication and urban and industrial design – and asking questions about connections between designers and non-designers.

Design is recognised as the global economic and social force to watch – the creative industry of the 21st century. In cities across the world, creative industries and knowledge economies are proven to expand employment and nation development, stimulating urban regeneration and quality of life – making cities better places to visit, work, study, live and invest in. Designing Cape Town to be a more liveable city is central to Cape Town’s World Design Capital bid theme of Live Design, Transform Life.

Our bid is all about repositioning Cape Town on the world stage through design. We are positioning ourselves as far more than just a city of beauty and leisure tourism. And to do so sustainably, we need to offer the world evidence that Cape Town is also an inspired place of business, scientific and academic innovation, and a world-class centre of design.

Cape Town’s bid to become World Design Capital 2014 forms part of a broader vision to position Cape Town as a leading global city – a hub of creativity, knowledge, innovation and excellence – and to build on the City’s World Cup success and infrastructure. Cape Town’s bid is not about claiming that we are already an established “design capital brand”; instead, we acknowledge that we are using design thinking as a tool for transformation.

There is a need internationally for countries and cities to use creativity and design as the driving force behind science, technology, government, business and humanitarian NGOs towards the development of an aesthetics economy, assimilating technology with human culture and coalescing sensations with experiences. It is the design fusion between consumer psychology, social awareness and sustainable development that will benefit humans in the decades to come.

More than 3 000 designers and delegates from 60 countries are attending the congress, the first time this event has been held in Asia. The Cape Town delegation is meeting delegations from a number of cities (including 2012 World Design Capital Helsinki and 2014 candidate cities Dublin and Bilbao) to forge stronger design and city links and to share learning.

Cape Town is represented at the IDA Congress by Executive Mayor Alderman Patricia De Lille; Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing; Jo-Ann Johnston, Chief Director of Economic Development and Tourism, PGWC; Alderman Conrad Sidego, Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality; Andrew Boraine, CEO of the Cape Town Partnership; Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, MD of the Cape Town Partnership; Skye Grove, Communications Manager of Cape Town Tourism; Michael Wolf, Chairperson of the Cape Town Design Network; and Luyanda Mpahlwa, leading architect and World Design Capital Bid Committee Member.

Skye Grove, Cape Town Tourism PR and Communications Manager, is in Taipei for the IDA Congress and the World Design Capital 2014 announcement. For daily updates from Taipei follow her on Twitter at @SkyeGrove or @CapeTownTourism.

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