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Detroit Design Festival celebrates UNESCO City of Design designation

A celebration of creativity

The David Whitney Building
Michelle & Chris Gerard

The sixth annual Detroit Design Festival (DDF) runs Sept. 21-25 and will explore and discuss ways in which design is shaping Detroit’s future. The citywide celebration of creativity will bring together designers, architects, artists, and enthusiasts to celebrate Detroit’s role as a global design capital.

Events include panel discussions on the City of Design designation, a summit to discuss how design can help build a better city, art installations and performances, lectures, and the Open Streets celebration. Events will take place throughout the city and region, from the Jam Handy to Eastern Market to the University of Michigan to the Avenue of Fashion. A full schedule can be found here.

Last December, Detroit was designated as a UNESCO City of Design, the first and only city in the United States with that designation. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, started the Creative Cities Network in 2004 to

"...promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 116 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level."

UNESCO designates cities around the world in different categories (design, crafts and folk arts, media arts, film, gastronomy, literature, and music). What does this mean for Detroit? It means we have a worldwide network to help guide Detroit with design in mind as we develop for the future. Detroit was chosen for its richness in design history, cultural institutions, schools, industry, talent, and design scene today.

And if you missed it last year, filmmaker Stephen McGee created a beautiful video highlighting some of the great design throughout the city.