Mexico City has transformed into a world-renowned centre of art and a hotspot for creativity. The constantly growing and developing megalopolis, now home to 25 million inhabitants, has been celebrated for its innovative approach to design after being awarded the title of Official World Design Capital in 2018. Widely acknowledged as lever for social, economic and cultural change, design and creativity are at the heart of the city's social development strategy. Currently the design industry generates US$ 41.93 billion of the city's total income and employs 68,254, generating career opportunities as well as US$229,134 in turnover.
The city is world-renowned for its array of design festivals, including the Abierto Mexicano de Diseño (Mexican Open Design), Design Week Mexico and City Mextrópoli. Mexico City identifies multi-stakeholder approaches as key levers in promoting design-driven action for the city. One example is the Mapatón project; the world's first crowd-sourced public experiment to help the local government map city bus routes. Coordinated by Lab for the City, residents, academics and games creators joined forces by designing an app that encouraged citizens to win prizes whilst mapping their own routes.
In 2013, a government experimental and creative office named Laboratorio para la Ciudad (Lab for the City) was established, becoming the very first programme of its kind in Latin America. It was set up with the aim of addressing social and urban issues through a creative, transdisciplinary and participatory lens. This initiative emphasises Mexico City's commitment to empower its citizens and give them an active role in shaping the city. The expected long-term mission of the Lab is to fully integrate creativity as a driver for the regeneration and development of sustainable urban living, with residents being empowered to contribute and work with the government in designing the city’s future.
As a Creative City of Design, Mexico City envisages:
- fostering the potential of creativity in all levels of the city to reinforce public policies by establishing the Mexico City Council for Urban Creativity and Contemporary Culture;
- establishing a new cartography for the creative community to strengthen their role as both citizens and contributors to the city, including through the Ventanilla Única (One-Stop Window), a tool to allow citizens to design their own public spaces through an exercise of civic technology;
- launching rooftop sessions, seminars and residencies to promote synergy between public, private and academic stakeholders in the field of design, in order to conduct collective research and coordinate efforts for more participatory approaches;
- generating dialogues through the Rehearsing the City project, aimed at expanding the use of design as a tool in the city making process through transdisciplinary and layered urban interventions;
- implementing the Urban Toys project; a public competition encouraging children to participate in the design of their own play environment, with a view to re-activate underused public spaces located in proximity of high densities of young population; and
- collaborating actively with other Creative Cities to share best practices and knowledge to address common urban issues.