Capital of China, Beijing bears witness to a 3,000 years cultural history. Since it joined the Network in 2012, the Creative City of Design has gradually become a driver of sustainable development. As a Creative City, Beijing has been nurtured by its deep cultural heritage and abundant science and technology resources. The city hosts more than 90 universities, over 1,000 scientific research institutes and supports more than 3,762 above-scale cultural and related industry enterprises. In 2019, Beijing witnessed the emergence of about 200 innovative enterprises. In the same year, the city’s culture sector employed more than 600,000 professionals and generated over 1.2 trillion yuan (US$ 198 billion approx.).
Affluent resources of science and technology and culture have become fertile soil for breeding design creativity. The concept of “design makes the city better” is deeply rooted in the minds of the city’s inhabitants. The city’s status as a ‘City of Design’ has been growing as a vital orientation for Beijing’s economic development and urban construction. The city has nearly 900 above-scale professional design institutions, generating an income of about 300 billion yuan (US$ 45 billion approx.) while employing a creative workforce of over 150,000 professionals.
In 2012, Beijing established the Beijing City of Design Coordination and Promotion Committee and released the Outline of Construction and Development Plan of Beijing City of Design. The city has also been carrying out international projects to integrate into the global network of innovative design. Beijing holds various events including three editions of the UNESCO Creative Cities Beijing Summit in 2013, 2016 and 2020 respectively. The city has also organized an exhibition titled ‘Experience China Design Beijing’ at UNESCO headquarters in 2014. To further promote the importance of creativity in sustainable development, the UNESCO’s General Conference at its 38th session in 2015 instituted a category 2 center in Beijing named “The International Center for Creativity and Sustainable Development” (ICCSD).
As a Creative City of Design, Beijing envisages:
- developing ICCSD into a global “Laboratory of Thoughts” with a focus on creativity and innovation, sustainable development and creative cities by supporting research, promotion, training, practices sharing and decision-making;
- carrying out Industrial Design Promotion Plan at the city level to promote the development of design industry and its linkages with other industries;
- holding the China Red Star Design Award annually to recognize outstanding design, encourages the creation of new high-quality products to benefit people’s life, and promote more sustainable patterns of consumption and production;
- implementing projects promoting urban quality of life that use design to promote the protection of historic and cultural cities, and the transformation and revival of the Old City, and
- organizing various international design events on a regular basis including UNESCO Creative Cities Beijing Summit, the Beijing Design Week, and the China Fashion Week etc. to promote exchange and cooperation with other UCCN member cities in creative fields especially of the design field.