With its 4,947,490 inhabitants, San José, the capital of Costa Rica, is the cultural epicentre of the country. It concentrates 76.8% of national design that accounts for 1.06% of the country's GDP. The city is characterized by its inter-disciplinary, collaborative and social vision. San José has a School of Industrial Design Engineering, a Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, 28 innovation centres and travelling Fab Labs.
Through the organization of seven annual International Design Festivals (FID), the city has incorporated the World Design Agenda. Between 2011 and 2017, the FID, in the spotlight, has inspired the regional creative community with its international scope and energized several creative sectors. The Mercado Tropical event has been used since 2012 to promote the most innovative products and local consumption. Events such as D10 and Responsible Design revitalize the vision of creators.
In 2008, the design sector was declared of national public interest and saw the birth of the Incentivar para Innovar con Diseño programme to train entrepreneurs in business design.
Since 2010, the Economy and Culture Unit has been generating indicators and statistics relating to the field of design at the national level. For its part, the Chamber of Commerce's Núcleo Empresarial de Diseño, launched in 2019, brings together eleven companies that design innovative products related to general services, light industry, information technology and sustainable tourism.
As a Creative City of Design, San José envisages:
- launching the SJODiseña Programme, whose objective is to activate funds intended for the incubation of design companies and to interconnect the country's cultural platforms;
- creating a Social Design Centre with the aim of developing projects capable of contributing to the improvement of the urban environment in its socio-cultural, economic and environmental dimensions;
- launching the Chant Programme with the aim of organizing a biennial creative festival focused on young people from vulnerable communities, so as to promote creativity, self-management and empowerment, intergenerational exchange, and cultures;
- extending the Creative Industries Encounters by inviting international speakers on cities and creative industries, setting up networking platforms (local, international and inter-cultural), and developing workshops with members of the UCCN in connection with sustainable urban development;
- organizing the first Design Week to promote cross-disciplinary design, technologies and life sciences, in collaboration with Panama City, Medellín and a European Creative City; and
- collaborating with the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design to implement the annual Interaction Design Program, dedicated to design research and education.