Finland takes lead in designing future cities

Indo Asian News Service

Helsinki, Dec 6 (IANS) The "World Design Capital" initiative launched in five Finnish cities a year ago in a bid to make the world a better place through design has achieved unprecedented international attention, the organisers say.

It has "broadened our understanding of the possibilities that design has to offer", said Pekka Timonen, executive director of the World Design Capital Helsinki.

The Design Capital year has clearly increased the use of design in Finland, Timonen said. Themes included openness, innovativeness, usability and sustainable development.

Four other cities -- Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti -- also participated.

The significance of design was studied through 580 projects and by a network of nearly 300 organisations. The 2,800 expos and events received about one million visitors.

By December, some 7,000 articles had been written about the project in around 100 countries, the Wednesday quoted Timonen as saying.

The World Design Capital's mission is to highlight the significance of design, indicate the intended usage, and increase the demand for design, he said.

Good design can encourage people to choose products and services that are friendlier to the environment. "Our projects succeeded brilliantly in all of these," Timonen said.

The Design Capital year also had a positive effect on tourism development, and design became a common topic for discussion among Finns, he said.

The co-operative spirit between our five cities has been great. A lot has been created that isn't just about design, said Helsinki's Mayor Jussi Pajunen.