Dundee is proud to be the first and only UNESCO City of Design in the UK. With a population of almost 150,000, Dundee is a compact and dynamic city with a strong cultural identity and history of innovation and creativity. Dundee is committed to embedding design and creativity as key drivers of the social and economic regeneration of the city.
The designation as a UNESCO City of Design recognises the city’s diverse contributions to a variety of design fields in the cities past and present including:
- Medical research – for drug design and discovery; and advances in the use of Service Design Principles in Healthcare.
- Comics – as home to the longest running British comic – the Beano, and home to the world’s first professor in comics at the University of Dundee.
- Video games – as the birth place of Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings to the location of the world’s first degree in Computer Arts at Abertay University and home to a thriving computer games sector today.
- Textiles – as the world centre of the jute industry in the 1900’s, and today as home to innovation in smart textiles and fabric production.
- Microelectronics – from the production of the ZX Spectrum the first home computer to a world leader today in the production of electrical data communication and fibre-optic cables
In 2018, Dundee’s commitment to design was further cemented with the opening of Scotland’s first design museum; V&A Dundee, designed by Kengo Kuma and part of Dundee’s £1bn Waterfront redevelopment to reconnect the city to the River Tay. It has helped to draw the attention of the world to Dundee and welcomed over 830,000 visitors in it’s first year.
Yet, it is most importantly the passion and the values of the people who contribute to Dundee’s design sector through basing their businesses and lives in the city which ensure that Dundee is a thriving design city in which to work, live and visit.
As a UNESCO City of Design, Dundee is committed to working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals through our Action Plan. The city is committed to sharing best practices, developing partnerships and strengthening our citizens participation in cultural life. Dundee upholds the values of UNESCO and champions placing creativity at the heart of local development and international cooperation. The city does this by:
- Celebrating and profiling the role of design a tool to improves lives by engaging citizens in design, the work of designers and opportunities for co-design.
- Championing Dundee’s designers by promoting their talent, supporting their creative and commercial success and involving them in decision making
- Actively participating in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network by collaborating and sharing in developing projects and learnings from other UNESCO Creative Cities.