INTERNATIONAL representatives from two of Geelong’s fellow Cities of Design have shared stories about how design has shaped their cities for the better.
The City of Greater Geelong hosted the UNESCO Creative Cities event under the dome at the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre last week.
Geelong is Australia’s only city with the UNESCO City of Design designation, and Thursday’s event featured presentations showing how the designation was changing not only the built form but also attitudes in Dundee, Scotland and Kortrijk, Belgium.
Leisure and Culture Dundee director Stewart Murdoch said Dundee, like Geelong, was an industrial city whose industry had moved elsewhere.
“Dundee is one of the early examples of how globalisation can change a city overnight.
“We’ve gone through these shocks and we’ve had to go through these reinventions, multiple reinventions.”
Dundee City Council UNESCO City of Design lead officer Annie Marrs said her city had a long history of embedding culture in its urban regeneration.
“We are benefiting from the work of people 30, 35, 40 years ago.”
Dundee City Council and the City of Greater Geelong are also partnering a project seeking feedback from people on what would make Geelong a more “liveable” and “loveable” city – head to loveablecitygeelong.com.
DesignRegio Kortrijk president Dominick Calleweir said the chairs the event’s attendees were sitting on – the famous .03, built by Vitra and designed by a Belgian, Maarten van Severen – made him feel at home.
He said Kortrijk’s historical location as a crossroads – it sits next to a major canal and is less than 10 kilometres from the French border – had driven the city and region’s status as a “transformer, matchmaker and collaborator”.
Other speakers at the event included Tuba Kocaturk, Professor of Integral Design at Deakin University, Creative Victoria director Michael Hudson and City of Greater Geelong mayor Bruce Harwood.
“Design is clearly not just about the built form; it’s about how you think when you’re trying to get the right outcome,” Cr Harwood said.
The event also included a workshop about the design of the city’s civic accommodation precinct.