UNESCO International Conference : Creative Design For Sustainable Development Report

March 14, 2014

UNESCO International Conference : Creative Design For Sustainable Development Report

This international conference organized by UNESCO in collaboration with the City of Shenzhen, China, gathered the representatives of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, category of Design. Focusing on the theme Creative Design for Sustainable Development, presentations and debates were conducted by creators and experts from participating cities. Representing the City of Nagoya, the instructor at the Design Department, Nagoya Art University, Tomohide Mizuuchi made a presentation themed “Re-positioning Design for a Sustainable Future”. We participants visited the Les Docks Cite de la Mode et du Design, a revitalization area of 2 square kilometers located along the Seine, which opened in 2010, and toured the area lectured by the architect/s who restored an unused dock into the building serving as a hub for developing industries that accommodates a design museum, exhibition spaces, cafes and a restaurant.

Re-positioning Design for a Sustainable Future / Tomohide Mizuuchi

At the international conference, Creative Design for Sustainable Development held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, I was honored to present about the need to redefine design itself for a sustainable future. A great variety of people came together at this conference, which was supported by the city of Shenzhen, China, all of whom have been conducting forward-looking attempts to realize a sustainable society through a variety of approaches. Attendees, from member cities in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, included administrative officials in charge of programs covering architecture, urban planning, traffic system design, environmental technology development, economy and culture. This meeting was very significant and inspiring, providing me with an opportunity to learn many things.

Society has begun to acknowledge that designers will play a more critical role as experts who can bring growth to the economy by expanding consumer society. What is proven by the current state of affairs, in which we have failed to curb climate change or the loss of biodiversity, despite the continuing innovations in environmental technology? As the concept of design itself forms a part of the cultural framework that needs to change, we must redesign design if we are to shift the existing paradigm. The discipline of design needs more ethical and cultural support and, above all, in order to deal with the highly complex issues that need to be solved if we are to attain a sustainable society, design must approach projects from a more comprehensive, relational viewpoint, including consideration of provisions, labor, housing and transport. Designers have to act as facilitators, assisting citizens and collaborators working to develop sustainable cities, connecting stakeholders from diverse fields by suggesting a vision for an ideal future through concrete, practical ideas.

It seemed to me that this conference presented us with the possibility that close collaboration among UNESCO’s creative cities will become a source of value in a new context that serves all people around the world. And we appreciate that Nagoya can play a critical role in producing this new value. It’s worthy of special mention here that collaboration among these creative cities has never been simply a ritual one, but rather a working one, supported by those in charge, who over time have established solid trust and built mutual relationships. In this era, the wisdom that thrives in local communities is expected to spread openly and globally without being homogenized. Taking advantage of the precious opportunity I was given here, I would like to continue to use international cooperation to work towards the dispatch – from Nagoya – of a brand of creativity that is truly efficient and productive.


Tomohide Mizuuchi

Lecturer at the Department of Design, Nagoya University of Arts

UNESCO International Conference : Creative Design For Sustainable Development
Date:Monday, 3 - Tuesday, 4 March, 2014


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Special Support : City of Shenzhen