What is WDC 2024?

What is the World Design Capital®?

World Design Capital® (WDC) is designated every two years by the World Design Organization® (WDO). The program recognizes cities for their effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural, and environmental development. It provides a year-long platform and framework to showcase design through unique experiences and explorations that stimulate thinking and bring the host community (in our case, the San Diego Tijuana region) together.

San Diego Tijuana is the first cross-border region to be designated World Design Capital, and the first time a U.S. city has been selected. Previous WDCs include Torino, Italy, Seoul, South Korea, Cape Town, South Africa, Taipei, Taiwan, Mexico City, Mexico, and most recently Valencia, Spain.

What is the World Design Organization®?

The World Design Organization (WDO), is a globally recognized non-governmental organization that promotes and advances the discipline of design through collaboration and international programming, as well as engagement with more than 180 member organizations.

Through its rigorous review process, WDO has been awarding the prestigious biennial WDC designation to cities since 2008.

What is World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024 (WDC 2024)?

WDC 2024 is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our region to accelerate the exchange of ideas and create opportunities for collaboration.

Why was was the San Diego – Tijuana region selected?

San Diego Tijuana’s bid to the World Design Organization highlighted the commitment to design, culture of cross-border collaboration, and the role of both technology and innovation toward building more interconnected communities. San Diego Tijuana are two cities in two countries, however we are one regional community continuously redefining and redesigning our cross-border home. We are doing something truly different here and creating a unique success story from which other border communities can learn.

What will WDC 2024 focus on?

In 2024, we will seed and showcase transformative legacy projects focused on six key focus areas. Using Community-Centered Design, Our Region, Sustainability and JEDI as a lens to support, and strengthen our chosen themes, the WDC 2024 strategic focus areas provide a framework that allows projects and other initiatives to be recognized and resourced where applicable. Each focus area will include designers from all sectors. The focus areas are Design in:

  1. Arts & Culture / Arte & Cultura
  2. Climate & Sustainability / Clima & Sustentabilidad
  3. Health & Wellbeing / Salud & Bienestar
  4. Planning & Placemaking / Planeación & Placemaking
  5. Science & Technology / Ciencia & Tecnología
  6. Youth & Education / Juventud & Educación
What will the WDC 2024 program look like?

We are convening a network of programs, people and activities to celebrate the impact of design on our region, and use humanity centered design to address the big issues that impact us as a community. Not just San Diego, California. Not just Tijuana, Mexico. But our region as a whole.

How can I get involved?

A key part of the success of WDC 2024 is providing a platform and network to leverage existing and proposed community initiatives which are submitted and categorized as events, activations, exhibits, or projects. To ensure there is a fair and equitable process in determining which ideas are endorsed by WDC 2024, we have established a set of qualifying criteria.

These criteria do not preclude other events and activities happening or gaining benefit from the WDC 2024 designation. These criteria provide a delineation that separates those ideas that will receive calendar placement, marketing and promotional support as part of the core WDC 2024 support offerings throughout 2024, and those that do not.

Where do I submit my idea to be considered for WDC 2024 endorsement?

The official WDC 2024 submission portal can be found on our website at wdc2024.org/submission-form/ for the English version, and wdc2024.org/es/formato-de-solicitud/ for the Spanish version.

What are Community Initiatives?

A Community Initiative is an activation, event, exhibition, or project has met WDC 2024’s program criteria. These initiatives will receive use of the WDC 2024 logo and will be included on the annual calendar on the WDC 2024 website. In addition, and at the discretion of WDC 2024, initiatives will also receive promotion from joint WDC 2024 marketing efforts and potentially be supported by the Design-to-Action Networks.

What are Signature Events?

A WDC 2024 Signature Event is an international event, as designated by the World Design Organization® to be conducted as part of the annual program of events. They include the following: Signing Ceremony, Design Experience, Design Spotlight, Street Festival, Policy Conference, Network of Cities Meeting, and the Convocation Ceremony. While there are guidelines, it is up to each WDC organizing entity – in this case, WDC 2024 – to interpret how best to execute the event, whether independently or in partnership with other entities, in a manner that is most meaningful and relevant to their region.

What are Activations?

“Activations” differ from other submittals in their simplicity. They reflect ideas to activate places and/or spaces through activities like workshops, talks, temporary pop-up displays, or performances. Complementing events, exhibits and more complex projects with these activations will provide a more diverse and substantial way to stay engaged with the community at large throughout 2024.

What are Events?

Events may range from a small/large gathering or activity, whether physical, digital, or hybrid. It should complement the focus areas of WDC 2024 (as described above) and/or further the awareness and understanding of the role of design. It can be focused on the community at large, or a specific audience. From educational to celebratory, it’s up to you.

What are Exhibitions?

Exhibitions may vary in size and reach. It should complement one or more of the focus areas of WDC 2024 (as described above) and/or further the awareness and understanding of the role of design. An exhibit vs. an “activation,” is more ambitious and should have a longer showing time. It will also be more prominently displayed on the WDC 2024 website and in marketing promotions.

What are Projects?

A project may have an event component or be built around a series of activities, workshops, talks, or outreach to further a specific area of study, or content creation. Your project may be at different life cycles (concept, seed, implementation, scale, etc.) You may also envision this project to have a longer term impact past 2024. If so, please indicate via the submission form.

What is the WDC 2024 Legacy Program?

The WDC 2024 Legacy Program is a product, structure, system or environment designed by the community and supported by WDC 2024, that when implemented, creates meaningful impact to our transborder, multinational region.

Unlike the WDC 2024 Signature events, the Legacy program is intended to drive long-term, positive impact. Some may be executed in 2024, but many will have much longer planning and development periods and therefore may only be realized 5, 10 or 15 years after the initial concept creation.
WDO® Definition
The World Design Capital® programme was first introduced in 2008 to impress upon cities the importance and recognition of design as a significant tool to enhance economic, social, cultural, and environmental development.
By mobilizing an entire city to advocate on behalf of the power of design to improve quality of life, the WDC program has since created a movement of design-effective cities around the world that exchange best practices in urban revitalization initiatives. Each of the WDC cities have gone on to become prominent design hubs, which is the real strength of the WDC designation, continuing to communicate the importance of design as a tool to address urban challenges long after their initial designation year.

Who is on the WDC 2024 Legacy Committee?

Mai Nguyen, Carlos De La Mora, James White, Jofras Sanchez, and Daniela de León

What is a WDC 2024 Legacy Program project and how will it be categorized?

WDC 2024 Legacy Program project is an initiative that has been shared with WDC 2024 and is supported by the Design-to-Action Networks (DANs). Initiatives might be at different scales, at different life cycle stages and composed of different stakeholders (individuals, community, public/private or private). Projects will be categorized based on WDC 2024 Focus areas.

Do you have examples of projects, or a list of projects that have been submitted?

The WDC 2024 Legacy Program list continues to grow, as more projects are discovered or shared with WDC 2024. The current list, presented at convening, can be found here.

If you have a project submission, please email legacy@wdc2024.org.

How are projects selected?

WDC 2024 provides a platform for submission, awareness and community engagement via the Design-to-Action Networks. Projects will be reviewed and supported based on their alignment to the WDC 2024 Focus Areas and their predicted regional impact.

Design-to-Action Networks (DANs) Overview

What are DANs?

A DAN is an advisory group, formed of researchers, academic, business, community and design leaders that have an interest in a specific WDC 2024 Focus Area. They have an appointed network lead that is a subject matter expert in a relevant Focus Area. Each DAN is tasked with the following:

  • Identifying key project(s) applicable to their WDC 2024 focus area
  • Developing and submitting an action plan that clearly outlines project support, objectives, goals, success metrics and key milestones
  • Meeting their Project Group(s) twice per month
  • Meeting with WDC 2024 Legacy Committee once per month
What is the purpose of the DANs?

The purpose of the DANs is to connect and catalyze by creating engagement and accelerating project progress by building and connecting Project Groups. They also provide quarterly progress reports to WDC 2024 during 2023 and will showcase their projects during WDC 2024 programming.

Who is responsible for the DANs?

The WDC 2024 Board of Directors governs the WDC 2024 Legacy Program. The Legacy Program is managed by the WDC 2024 Legacy Committee (Daniela de León, Ernesto Chavez, James White, Mai Nguyen, Jorge Francisco Sánchez) which is responsible for supporting the DANs.

How often do DANs meet?

The WDC Legacy Committee recommends that once formed, the DANs meet with their respective Project Groups twice a month. The WDC Legacy Committee is held on the third Tuesday of each month.

How much funding is there for DANs and Project Groups and/or specific projects?

There is no guaranteed or specific funding from WDC 2024 for DANs, Project Groups or specific projects. However, based on Action plans and specific requests and opportunities, WDC 2024 may support grant writing and facilitate network connections.

What does success look like for a DANs?

The following outlines key success criteria for DANs:

  • Identify key project(s) applicable to their WDC Focus Area
  • Develop and submit an Action plan that clearly outlines project support, objectives, goals, success metrics and key milestones
  • Meet with their Project Group(s) twice per month
  • Meet with WDC 2024 once per month
  • Provide quarterly progress report to WDC 2024 during 2023
  • Showcase projects during WDC 2024 programming
What is an Action Plan and where might I find one?

The Action Plan is a strategic document that identifies key project(s) applicable to WDC 2024 focus areas. The DAN Leads are required to develop and submit an Action Plan, based on a template provided by WDC 2024, that clearly outlines project support, objectives, goals, success metrics and key milestones.

You can view the action plan template here.

Design-to-Action Networks (DANs) Lead 

What are the requirements to become a DAN Lead?

There are no specific education requirements to become a DAN Lead. It is highly preferred that you have real world experience with leadership, team management and the specific Focus Area.

Are DAN San Diego and Tijuana Leads and paid?

Design-to-Action Network Leads are paid an honorarium, requiring weekly commitment and deliverables based on a revolving 6-month commitment.

How were the DAN Lead selected?

DAN Leads could nominate themselves, be nominated by their community or identified by the WDC 2024 Legacy Committee. In all circumstances, potential candidates had to fill out the application form to be considered. Once submitted, applications were reviewed by the WDC 2024 Legacy Committee and a short list was developed. Interviews were scheduled and a final selection was made based on experience, availability and alignment to WDC 2024 mission and values.

Why is there a Tijuana and a San Diego Lead?

WDC San Diego Tijuana 2024 is a regional designation, and as such, we are committed to support cross-border projects to create meaningful impact. A joint Lead model, i.e. one lead in Tijuana and one lead in San Diego, ensures that perspectives, ideas and projects, from both regions, will be considered and synergies can be discovered.

What is the time commitment for a DAN Lead?

DAN Leads will be expected to commit 20 hours per month. This commitment may vary depending on size, scale and quantity of Project Groups per DAN.

Review Criteria & Process


What has been considered in crafting the criteria?
  1. Ensuring the process results in a high-quality offering, representing the best in design, while facilitating a diverse and comprehensive range of submittals.
  2. Capturing an interesting and diverse cross section of events, activities, and programs
    representative of our region.
  3. Assessing submissions with the goal of identifying and selecting a few stellar regional programs for “Community” designation.
What’s the minimum requirement to become a “Community” Initiative?

Your ability to provide a positive audience experience that allows design to be more approachable, better understood, and appreciated.

What are some of the other requirements to become a “Community” Initiative?

A Community activation, event, exhibition, or project will receive use of the WDC 2024 Community logo at your event/activities, in programming, promotion, and advertising. It will be included on the annual calendar listing on the WDC 2024 website with a link to your website. 

In addition, and at the discretion of WDC 2024, initiatives will also receive promotion from joint WDC 2024 marketing efforts and potentially be supported by the Design-to-Action Networks.

How do I submit to become a “Community” Initiative?
  1. To submit your event or project for consideration, please go to this link. It will take you through a simple set of questions and ask for basic information. We will confirm your submission has been received and reach out to you with any questions within 2-3 weeks of the submittal date.
  2. Submissions will be reviewed by the WDC 2024 staff and by a diverse group of community members who have agreed to serve on the WDC 2024 Review Council.
  3. You will be notified at the end of each review cycle, which will be approximately 6 weeks after your submission, regarding the designation.
Is there a deadline for submittals?

If you feel you need more time to develop your submission, WDC 2024 will be accepting submissions from Q2 2023 through Q1 2024. Subject to demand, the deadline may be extended into Q2 2024.
For those entities that are planning larger events and projects and/or seeking funding via local grants or sponsorships, we encourage you to submit as early as possible or in line with your key milestones.

What is the review cycle timeline?

Submissions will be officially open in June, 2023
Submissions are reviewed on a rolling monthly basis
Example of Submission & Review Cycles
#1: June to June 30
#2: July 1 to July 31
#3: August 1 to August 31
Submitters will receive confirmation of their submission with 24 hrs

Submitters will be contacted within 15 business with any follow-up questions

Submissions will be provided designation confirmation within 6 weeks of their submission

What happens once I have become a “Community” Initiative?

The WDC 2024 Project Manager will work with your team to review and coordinate the following:

  • Delivering the logo with instructions for its use
  • Review the process for being included in the program calendar, including deadlines, files and content, and instructions on items like collateral and signage
  • Guidelines on publicity
  • Support from an assigned Design-to-Action Network, if appropriate

WDC 2024 Support & Partnership

A significant role of the WDC 2024 organization will be to support and amplify the rich history and power of community design throughout the designation year. The joint marketing program is a foundational element to achieving that goal.

What is the role of WDC 2024
  • Serve as the official voice of the World Design Capital 2024 efforts
  • Host and publish the official WDC 2024 calendar
  • Work with partners including the San Diego and Tijuana Tourism Authorities to provide the most up-to-date information
  • Host the WDC 2024 website Provide a point of contact and process to ensure information is collected and questions are answered in a timely manner
  • Alert participating partners about ongoing marketing efforts so they can be leveraged. This will be accomplished via email (as needed) and through a monthly update call
  • Official WDC 2024 brand oversight and compliance
  • Provide logo files and instructions for use
  • Signage, pamphlet, and/or other collateral designs and instructions for their use
  • Coordinate with other WDC 2024 initiatives to provide support and connection – these include the Design-to-Action Networks, Design Ambassador program, and participating venues and programs
  • Connect you to the WDC 2024 volunteer network to help staff or lend-a-hand where needed
What are the advantages of being a “Community” activation, event, exhibit, or project?
  1. You may be featured as part of robust program calendar and marketing programming including the following components:
    • WDC 2024 website including a calendar, map, and program descriptions
    • Promotion through social media, online, and traditional advertising, publicity, and outreach through the WDC 2024 newsletter and updates
    • Use of the approved WDC 2024 logo on your marketing and promotional materials
    • Signage designs using the WDC 2024 branding for your use
    • Linking to the WDC 2024 website
    • Opportunity to to be featured in WDC 2024 Press releases where applicable
  2. Early Access opportunities
    • Invitations to meetups with other endorsees
    • First to learn about new programs being added
    • Other “access” related benefits TBD
    • Opportunity to be featured in WDC 2024 content creation i.e. Designer & Industry Spotlight
What are the expectations of all Event/Project Partners?
  • Be responsive to deadlines for information to ensure program listings are correct.
  • Alert the program liaison of any changes to your program so WDC 2024 can respond accordingly and alert our partners.
  • Submit those items that require advance approval by WDC 2024 on time for appropriate turn-around.
  • Attend monthly update calls.
  • Provide WDC 2024 with any metrics or data that would be helpful in measuring the overall effectiveness and success of our collective efforts – to be included in the WDC 2024 Impact Study.
What marketing efforts or materials will require prior approval?

The goal of WDC 2024 is not to be overly prescriptive. As a creative and design-driven endeavor, our role is to bring resources and partners together to facilitate meaningful and transformative change for our region. However, to ensure a consistent level of quality and to make sure we leverage our collective efforts, WDC 2024 will require prior approval on the following:

  • All relevant news releases and/or publicity plans need to be received/discussed a minimum of 30 days prior to the launch of the initiative
  • Note, we will have knowledge of other, potentially competing or complementary, programs

  • If you are planning a ticketed event, we will need to see/discuss your plan and how that will be supported or executed
  • All advertising, website, materials, and signage must contain the approved WDC 2024 logo
  • News releases are required to use the correct boilerplate copy provided by WDC 2024
  • Any press release mentioning a WDC 2024 partnership must be received 10 business days before publication for approval

To stay up to date, follow us at #wdc2024 or visit us at wdc2024.org