The World Design Cities Summit has kicked off today in Seoul. Taking place today and tomorrow, mayors, deputy mayors and other leading officials from 32 cities around the world will gather at the international conference to discuss design as the key to city competitiveness in the 21st century. This summit marks the first official international event held in Seoul since the city was selected as the World Design Capital 2010 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.
Every two years the status of WDC is conferred on a city that can successfully put a design vision into practice to improve the quality of citizens' lives and develop the city's economy and culture through the use of design. Under the theme of 'A City Makes a Leap Forward with Design', the Seoul Summit, hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, will serve as a venue to discuss measures to develop and improve cities through design. Participating cities with mayors attending include Torino, Italy, which served as the pilot city for the World Design Capital in 2008, and Helsinki, Finland, which serves as the next World Design Capital for 2012.
The two-day Summit kicks off with a keynote speech by Matthias Horx, a European futurist who will address how design changes a city and its future. Under the theme of 'The Vision of World Design Cities', the first plenary session will examine how to share the precedent case, the current plan and the future vision of the selected cities.
Also on the second day there will be a special session where world- renowned scholars and experts speak on design and the future of a city, followed by a tour to the Seoul Design Assets Exhibition at the Seoul Museum of History, as well as to Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwanghwamun Square and Cheonggyecheon, a stream running through the heart of downtown.
"The ultimate value of design is to improve the quality of human life while building a harmonious world based on open communication," said Oh Se- hoon, Mayor of Seoul. "Under its vision of 'Design for All,' the Seoul Metropolitan Government will endeavor to transform Seoul into a place where all citizens can pursue happiness," Mayor Oh added.