The United Nations has designated our town as one of the most important cultural places on the planet, naming Detroit the first UNESCO City of Design in the United States. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.

What does it mean to become the first UNESCO City of Design in the United States?

A few days ago, the Detroit Creative Corridor Center launched the Detroit City of Design Initiative at the Museum of Contemporary Art-Detroit to a crowd of almost 200 Detroit business, philanthropic, and community leaders. This 10-year initiative further amplifies Detroit’s designation as the only U.S. UNESCO City of Design.

 Olga Stella, executive director of the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, noted that this designation does not mark the end of Detroit’s major problems and challenges, but rather serves as a “call to action”–in order for DC3’s vision to fully resonate with the entire community, they must first be supported by the creative community. Stella and other members of the panel at the launch also stressed that design can be a “catalyst for change.”  

 “We are champions for the creative economy in Detroit,” Stella said. “Today we’re talking about what this designation really means. It is not just something for our marketing materials.”

 Christy McDonald sat down with Olga Stella and Richard Rogers of the College for Creative Studies to discuss the launch of the Detroit City of Design Initiative and address the impact of Detroit’s creative industries on the economy. Watch the full interview here:

 Along with DC3’s Drinks X Design series and public awareness campaigns, this year’s Detroit Design Festival will act as the major launching point for this new initiative with the hopes of creating a collective vision across business, community, academia, and policymakers. The annual festival–taking place September 22nd through 24th this year with the theme “Designing Detroit’s Future”— celebrates Detroit’s design industries while also connecting designers to new potential markets and providing a space for engagement with the international design community. For more on The Detroit City of Design and Detroit Design Festival visit: