UNESCO chooses Valencia to join the Creative Cities Network


UNESCO chooses Valencia to join the Creative Cities Network

  • The announcement of new cities joining the Network was made today, Tuesday 31 October, by the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation submitted just two Spanish candidates, including Valencia.
  • The city will be part of the Network in the Design category alongside Helsinki, Berlin, Montreal, Graz, Detroit, Budapest, Kaunas, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Doha, Bangkok, Mexico City, Seoul and Brasilia


The Mayor of Valencia, María José Catalá, announced today that “Valencia has been chosen by UNESCO to join the Creative Cities Network in the “Design” category”.

“This designation is the result of international recognition of an important part of the city’s economic and cultural DNA. Being part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is a great opportunity to continue promoting the internationalisation of Valencia, with design and creativity as the main attractions of its culture and economic and social development”, said the mayor.

For practical purposes, by joining the Network, Valencia undertakes to share its good practices in creative terms with other cities on a reciprocal basis, and to develop joint projects involving both the public and private sectors, as well as civil society.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is considered a laboratory of ideas and innovative experiences, in which – every four years – the different members generate an evaluation report in which they propose their own initiatives, making use of culture and creativity as main assets for the sustainable urban development of their territories.

The announcement of the designation was made by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations, coinciding with the celebration of World Cities Day. This event was created in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly with the aim of encouraging cooperation between countries to contribute to sustainable urban development worldwide.

The Network was created in 2004 to promote cooperation towards and between cities that identify creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. There are now nearly 350 cities in the Network, working together towards a common goal: “to place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their local development plan and to actively cooperate at an international level in this field”.

There are seven categories for cities to apply for: crafts and folk arts, digital arts, film, design, gastronomy, literature and music.

Helsinki, Berlin, Montreal, Graz, Detroit, Budapest, Kaunas, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Doha, Bangkok, Mexico City, Seoul and Brasilia are some examples of international cities belonging to the Network in the “Design” category. In Spain, it is worth noting that Bilbao belongs to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

In addition, other outstanding examples can be found in the Region of Valencia, such as Dénia (for Gastronomy), Manises (for Crafts and Popular Arts) or Llíria (for Music).


A long-standing project


Valencia’s candidacy was officially approved on 22 December 2022, at the Local Government Meeting of the city council. The candidacy project, initiated by Valencia City Council’s Department of Cultural Action, arose in parallel to the designation of the city as World Design Capital by the World Design Organization.

In turn, of all the proposals compiled at the national level, the Spanish National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO – dependent on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation – submitted only two Spanish candidates, including Valencia, “for inclusion in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a city of design”. In its decision, the Commission highlighted the following precepts: “Design has historically played a crucial role in Valencia. In recent years this role has shifted to the development of the city with sustainability criteria aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. Recently, Valencia was the eighth city to be designated as World Design Capital 2022. The bid was developed collaboratively between the public and private sector and has the support of numerous representatives of the creative and design ecosystem. Both the projects developed in recent years and the proposed plan include actions closely aligned with the objectives of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network”.

The Fundació del Disseny de la Comunitat Valenciana, as eir to the management and legacy of the World Design Capital, was the entity in charge of presenting the 2023 candidature report to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, with the collaboration of Econcult (Research Unit in Economics of Culture and Tourism) of the Universitat de València.

In the words of Xavi Calvo, director of the Fundació del Disseny: “With the new designation by UNESCO, it gives me great satisfaction to once again confirm the city’s international recognition as an innovation hub and a capital of creative talent. The potential of Valencia as a territory linked to design and creativity will be experienced first-hand throughout 2022 and with this new announcement we have the possibility of continuing to strengthen ties and share learning with other cities that have become true success stories in terms of sustainable development”.

Campaign image | Designed by Sara Antolín.

“Nombre proyecto”