Helsinki, partner city in the URBACT CTUR project, has been designated “World Design Capital” in 2012: as Pekka Timonen, Director of the Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 foundation, said, it is a ‘dynamic’ designation and not a ‘prize’.
Helsinki has been selected by the world design community. Focus is on the use of design for cultural, social and economic development, thus creating an additional visitor interest for Helsinki as a cruise destination. Helsinki was chosen because it is credible, it has a substantial design history, and that design is part of the national identity, providing intelligent solutions for everyday life, and a boost for innovation.
The political commitment and understanding of design is a competitive factor for well being too. Helsinki has over 10 000 design professionals, and design is seen as essential for business, the city has a strategy, and the EU is now taking design onto its agenda, considering design as a competitiveness factor: the new EU design agency is going to be based in Aalto University.
The city believes that design should be ‘embedded in life’, playing a key role. Design is a ‘creative human-centred’ way of approaching things: objects, methods, decision-making, services/public services, in a holistic view. Design is always about people, and about creating a good experience, often solving people’s problems, and concerns all of society: metropolitan areas, governments and NGOs.