UNESCO, or The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture, is a specialized agency of the United Nations. The purpose of the organization is to contribute to peace and security through international collaboration. That collaboration comes from education, science, and culture, in an attempt to create interest for law, human rights, justice, and the fundamentals of freedom.
It’s five different categories are Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information. There are tons of different UNESCO sites acknowledged around the world, including the world heritage sites which includes all of the national parks and certain churches. Technically a recognized site can be a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain.
Now Detroit has been made official by the organization as the first “City of Design” in the United States. UNESCO has created the Creative Cities Network, which aims to recognize cities that are working on sustainable urban development through creative means. The honor means that Detroit is committed to committed to the process, and will keep their design legacy intact.
Ellie Schneider, who is the Interim Executive Director of the Detroit Creative Corridor, is the person who submitted Detroit’s application for the program. She spoke to Architectural Digest about the process.
“Design continues to play a significant role in our economy, and it was important that our application reflect our city’s contributions to the golden design community, both historically and today.”
Detroit was the first city in the U.S. to be given the honor, but it was not the last to be recognized by UNESCO. Austin Texas was honored for Media Arts, and Tucson Arizona was honored for its Gastronomy.
Outside of the U.S. there are other cities that have been honored as cities of design, including Bilbao, Buenos Aires, Helsinki, and Bandung, Indonesia, Budapest, and Singapore. The last two were added on this year.
In total there were 47 cities that were chosen to be added to the network this year, which makes a total of 116 cities. They did quite an expansion this year. The aim of the expansion is to “foster international cooperation with and between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy.”
Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, and is known as “motor city” thanks to its long standing ties to the auto industry. The city is also home to the only international wildlife preserve in North America, with the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge which is interestingly located right in the city.
The refuge spans 48 miles of shoreline of the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie, and includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals, and waterfront lands.