It is important to have a design policy at local and national government levels. This was one of the main messages coming from the Design Policy Conference, Make a Plan, held at the Cape Town Stadium over the weekend as part of World Design Capital (WDC) Cape Town 2014.
More than 30 local and international policy and design experts, ranging from designers, promoters, industrialists, academics, educators, policy makers and civil society members spoke at the conference. They introduced ‘best practice’ examples of how design has played a vital role in the development of economies, societies and cultures worldwide in order to develop the policies necessary for unlocking the potential of the design industry to respond to social challenges.
The Design Institute was one of the sponsors of the conference. According to Gavin Mageni, group head of the Institute, this sponsorship was important because it underlines the belief that design should be positioned nationally to support existing plans to create radical social, cultural and economic transformation.
Other WDC signature events that took place at the same time were:
- Design House “Transforming Cities” Exhibition: Cities such as Bavaria, Paris, Dublin, Taipei, Accra, Qingdao, Seoul, and Gwanju showed how design has had a positive impact on their citizens, including examples of public/private collaborations and innovations; urban planning and renewal; sustainable solutions for housing, agriculture, energy and climate change; public sector responses to urbanisation; and community building and social cohesion within burgeoning cities.
- Handing over the baton to Taipei as the next World Design Capital city in 2016.
It is hoped that the plans made, policy structured and messages formulated on design during the WDC activities will bear fruit in the years to come.