World Design Capital 2020Lille and Sydney are competing to become World Design Capital 2020. (Image WDO)

Lille and Sydney will go head to head for the right to become World Design Capital 2020.

The World Design Organization (WDO) said the cities had made the shortlist for their effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural, and environmental development in their cities.

“We are inspired by the way these cities have used design to improve their citizens’ lives,” said Mugendi M’Rithaa, WDO president and member of the WDC Selection Committee.

“Both have demonstrated their commitment to the design process – its focus on the end users and the environment in which they live – as a critical tool for resolving our biggest urban challenges.”

Once an industrial centre facing economic turmoil, Lille, in France, aims to engage its 2 million residents in design-driven projects. Under the banner, Eldorado: the greatest design experiment, it has put design at the heart of its economic, societal and environmental transformation.

Meanwhile Sydney, Australia, and surrounding suburbs, will use the WDC programme as an open platform to ‘engage, collaborate and design a new social model for an increasingly urbanised world’. Its programme, Inclusive, Resilient, seeks to ‘embrace the land and connect to the climate’.

Before a decision is made, judges will visit both cities to better assess the scope and capacity of each of the contender’s proposed programmes. The designated city will be announced on October 14, 2017, in Torino, Italy during WDO’s 30th General Assembly.

Damien Castelain, Lille Metropole’s president, said: “The bid launched by Lille Metropole and lille-design is a wonderful opportunity for our region, both in terms of developing our international reputation and boosting regional dynamics.

“This year-long event as World Design Capital will attract investors, encourage the formation of new partnerships and, above all, enable Lille to become the nerve centre of design-driven production.”

World Design Capital is a biennial designation celebrating cities that use design to improve economic, social and cultural life. Previous designations include Torino (2008), Seoul (2010), Helsinki (2012), Cape Town (2014), and Taipei (2016). Mexico City is WDC 2018.