Dubai first city in the Middle East to become UNESCO Creative City of Design

Local🕔 4 June 2018

In the picture: Dawood Al Hajiri, Director of Dubai Municipality addresses the press conference 2.

Dubai has become the first city in the Middle East and 24th in the world to be appointed a UNESCO Creative City of Design. During a press conference held on the 3rd of June at the Youth Hub in Emirates Towers, UNESCO announced selection of Dubai as the first Creative City of Design in the Middle East within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

The announcement was done in the presences of the top officials of Dubai’s major government departments, including Abdullah Al Basti, Secretary General of Dubai Executive Council, Dawood Abdulrahman Al Hajiri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, Ahmed Abdulkarim Julfar, Director General of Community Development Authority, Mohammed Saeed Al Shehhi, CEO of Dubai Design District, Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Mohammed Abdulla, Chairman, Dubai Institute for Design and Innovation (DIDI), Nasser BuShehab, Executive Director of Strategy and Corporate Governance Sector, RTA, Badr Al Gargawi, Deputy Director General, Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Mohammed Al Bahri, Chief Executive Officer, Engineering and Urban Planning, Mohammed Al Bahri, Chief Executive, Engineering and Urban Planning and Ahmed Bukhash, Executive Director, Urban Planning, Dubai Creative Cluster Authority.

The UCCN, founded in 2004, has currently 180 Members from 72 countries covering creative fields such as Art & Craft, Design, Film, Literature, and Media Arts. It was created to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 180 cities 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.

"Yet another feather is added in the cap of achievements of Dubai and we are grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who instilled the can-do spirit in us and inspired us to attain higher purposes for our city. Thanks to His Highness’s UAE Vision 2021, Dubai accelerates development for a bright and successful future," said Al Hajiri.

He said that the design is the process of finding creative solutions to problems in order to improve lives. “Design is beyond the product; rather it is the framework by which problems are solved. It puts people and their needs first to convert trash into energy, improve quality of life, increase sustainability and promote happiness,” said Al Hajiri.

He pointed out that Dubai Municipality has had a long history with UNESCO to recognise Dubai Creek as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Our Dubai city’s history with UNESCO reflects its deep rooted concern and commitment to culture and heritage. It is also reflective of the country’s vision to position itself on the global map of the world. Dubai Municipality continues to reinforce the vision of its pioneering leadership and community who together have proven time and time again that they are up to spreading the greatness of Dubai across the globe. Our support of Dubai’s bid to be the first Creative City of Design in the Middle East propagates our commitment to positioning it in the forefront of success and innovation, just like we supported Dubai’s bid to host the first World Expo in the Middle East and North Africa and South Asia in 2020,” said Al Hajiri.

Praising the achievement, Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Directors of RTA, said that it marks the culmination of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who has taken a proactive approach to innovation and creativity in Dubai's public and private sectors.

He said this approach was reinforced by the establishment of the Dubai Design District as a specialised body to support creativity and the Dubai Institute for Design and Innovation, the first educational organisation to stimulate innovation and provide university learning opportunities at the highest international standards.

Al Tayer also praised the efforts made by Dubai Municipality to win this achievement, which represents another milestone in Dubai's march towards global excellence. "RTA is keen to adopt and develop the best creative practices in various projects and initiatives, through the introduction of creative touches on the design of road networks, intersections, bridges and tunnels, as well as the designs of various means and stations of mass transport including the design of the Dubai Metro and Tram Dubai, the Dubai Water Canal, the Jumeirah Corniche, the Bridge of Tolerance on the Dubai Canal and the bridges that are built across Dubai Creek, most recently the new Shindagha bridge, which is designed based on the idea of infinity, with its 42 meter high arches,” he said.

Al Nabouda extended thanks to the designers, artists and every individual part of the city's creative sectors. “The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority’s support for this project will be present in the next phase as part of our efforts to achieve our vision of making Dubai a creative and sustainable global city for culture, arts heritage, and literature. This project will also allow us to build partnerships and develop creative and innovative projects and initiatives locally, regionally and globally within a dynamic and flexible governance framework,” he added.

“Dubai Culture has continuously supported a number of similar projects, including the development of Al Safa Art and Design Library, the pilot project of the strategic initiative launched by Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, to refurbish the entire Dubai Public Library network in partnership with Dubai Municipality, in addition to other key initiative by Dubai Culture, Creatopia, the nation’s first government empowered virtual. We also support our partners’ main events including ‘Design Days Dubai’, ‘Dubai Design Week’ and ‘Dubai Urban Commissions’ competition,” said Al Nabouda.

Julfar pointed out that Dubai becoming UNESCO Creative City of Design reiterates that the city is a regional and global lighthouse in creativity and innovation, and a true incubator of modernity, development and innovation in the service of man.

“Dubai is an attractive city for efficiency and creative talent, and is an innovation laboratory open to design services. The CDA is transforming creativity and innovation into a holistic community culture as innovation is a key reference for the formulation and restructuring of our services to ensure greater benefit to the society,” he added.

Al Shehhi said Dubai Design District is proud to be part of this great achievement that confirms Dubai’s cultural and creative standing at both regional and international levels. “We thank HH Sheikh Mohammed, who has provided us with the support and encouragement required to grow and enrich the design sector in the region. Dubai has quickly become a hub for design and events such as Dubai Design Week have truly cemented our global position in the design industry,” he added.

Abdullah said DIDI is looking forward to working side by side with Dubai Municipality along with the other well-respected partners that are supporting this initiative. “Our participation will powerfully impact the results targeted by this initiative as at DIDI we have invested in growing the creative industry with exceptional talent. Our graduates will conceive and create sustainable design solutions for today’s problems for the benefit of tomorrow’s world. Joining UNESCO’s Creative City Network, will allow DIDI to collaborate further afield and give our regional talent endless opportunities. We look forward to working together to strengthen our creative network,” he added.

Bukhash said Dubai Creative Clusters Authority is committed to forging Dubai’s global reputation as a leader in creativity and a hub for innovation and the creative industries, loosely defined as industries that use intellectual capital as their primary input, range from film to design and architecture. And these industries are critical drivers of innovation.

“We live in a fast running world and it is being said that the only factor that will make us survive in the future is ‘creativity’ as everything is being replaced by machines and I believe that creativity has always been a factor of growth,” said Emarati Artist Rowdha Ahmad Alsayegh.

The official logo and key initiatives to achieve the overall objectives of UNESCO's Innovative Design Cities Network was also unveiled during the press conference. The initiatives include the Dubai Creative City of Design Council, the Dubai National Design Center, the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, Dubai Design and Innovation Festival and Design and Innovation for Public Service Transformation. These initiatives will be accompanied by numerous exhibitions, conferences, workshops, promotional tours, seminars and competitions.

Al Hajiri thanked the partners and entities that contributed to this unique achievement represented by the General Secretariat of the Executive Council, the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, the Dubai Institute for Design and Innovation, the Dubai Design District, the Dubai Creative Cluster Authority, the Community Development Authority and the city builders.

Local🕔 4 June 2018

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