Following deliberations on 9 June 2011, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) has the pleasure to announce on behalf of the members of the World Design Capital® (WDC) Selection Committee that the cities of Bilbao (Spain), Cape Town (South Africa) and Dublin (Ireland) have been selected as the three shortlisted cities that will move on to the next round of evaluation in the bid to becoming the World Design Capital in 2014.

In 2014 selection of World Design Capital will be the fourth appointment by Icsid of this biennial designation to a city, in recognition of its accomplishments in using design as a catalyst for development and reinvention, as well as for improving its social, cultural and economic environments.

After a comprehensive review of all bids submitted, the cities of Bilbao, Cape Town and Dublin distinguished themselves not only by demonstrating their individual approaches towards design in their cities, but also managed to convey the impact of these on the various aspects of social, cultural and economic life, as well as provided three very unique visions for how design will continue to reinvent their urban landscape. Furthermore, these cities demonstrated that they possessed the expertise, infrastructure and financial capabilities to successfully develop and implement an inspiring yearlong programme of international design related events, promoting design, as well as their city, on an international stage; and finally, illustrated how their citizens have and will continue to benefit from their cityʼs achievements in design.

“It was a difficult decision, but the WDC Selection Committee has shortlisted three incredibly well thought-out and all-together remarkable bids that have created unique competitive advantages for their cities through design,” expressed Martin Darbyshire, WDC Organising Committee member and Icsid Executive Board Member. “These proposals have conveyed very workable and deliverable plans to use design as a means to reinvigorate their cityʼs social, cultural and economic development.”

“The Bilbao City Hall, the Provincial Government of Bizkaia and the Basque Government would like to express their great enthusiasm on being shortlisted to be the World Design Capital in 2014,” stated Iñaki Azkuna, Mayor of Bilbao. “Design innovation has become an essential tool to improve the competitiveness and quality of life in cities, and is necessary to enhance collaborative public-private environments with direct participation from the administrations, universities and different economic and professional agents. This is the direction Bilbao has followed to achieve its transformation over the past 25 years, and this designation will help continue the rejuvenation of our great city.”

The next step in the process leading up to the final selection of the 2014 WDC designation is the city visits that will be conducted in July 2011 by members of the WDC Organising Committee. These site inspections will enable further information to be gathered in an attempt to provide the WDC Selection Committee with a more thorough understanding of the proposed programmes by each of the shortlisted cities prior to the final selection in August 2011.

The official announcement of the 2014 World Design Capital designated city will be on 26 October during the 2011 International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Taipei, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei).