Located in the heartland of China, Wuhan is a large city of 10.76 million inhabitants and the capital of Hubei province. Famous for its 3,500 years of cultural history, the city is the cradle of urban civilisation in the Yangtze River basin and the oriental tea harbour of the ancient Tea Road.Wuhan is known for its expertise in bridge and high-speed rail engineering, resilient urban planning and high-tech industries. 50% of the world’s long-span bridges and 60% of China’s high-speed railways were designed by Wuhan designers. Creative industries represent an important mainstay of the local economy with an added-value of US$13,07 billion (2016), accounting for 7.47% of the city’s GDP.
Creative design is at the core of Wuhan’s cultural agenda, which includes the large-scale Wuhan Design Biennale, focusing on cross-cutting approaches between art and technologies. The city also hosted the first New Media, Animation and Game Expo in China, establishing a key cooperation platform for Chinese, Japanese and Korean experts and professionals. Wuhan also hosted the 10th International Garden Exhibition on landscape design, which attracted the participation of 92 cities and an audience over 2.4 million. As a result of the exhibition, the Jinkou landfill, a large MSW area, has been regenerated through green and low-carbon designs and benefited over 100,000 residents.
Wuhan continuously introduces programmes to create a conducive environment for creative designers, including the Qingtong Plan, which has supported young creative entrepreneurs by establishing 73 dedicated districts and 217 incubators. The City has also effectively implemented a plan to transform Wuhan into a city of creative design, to accelerate the development of creative industries and give a new momentum to economic growth based on culture and innovation.
As a Creative City of Design, Wuhan envisages:
- revitalising the heritage districts of the Yangtze River banks with a City of Design Demonstration Zone, which will focus on urban ecology and cultural history through creative design-led activities;
- enriching the programme of the Wuhan Design Biennale by dedicating a UCCN members exhibition area, showcasing cross-cutting approaches, facilitating interactive sessions and further supporting young designers;
- enhancing urban quality of life by establishing 100 creative communities through creative design;
- sharing knowledge on urban ecologies, conservation of great rivers cities, with other relevant Creative Cities through the Great Rivers Forum;
- implementing the Skill-Development Programme for Young African Creative Designers to subsidise 20 young African designers, per year, to study and intern in Wuhan; and
- developing the Wuhan Design and Innovation Institute for design education and training, aimed at enhancing scientific research and knowledge-sharing with other Creative Cities of Design.