Detroit Just Named One of the World’s Best Cities For Design

January 12, 2016, 4:27 PM UTC
Detroit Area Economy Worsens As Big Three Automakers Face Dire Crisis
DETROIT - NOVEMBER 21: The General Motors (GM) world headquarters building stands tallest amidst the Renaissance Center in the skyline of city's downtown on November 21, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. As car and truck sales have plummeted across the country, large inventories are building at dealerships and factories. The Big Three U.S. automakers, General Motors (GM), Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, failed after appearing this week in Washington to receive money after asking the government for federal funds to curb the decline of the American auto industry. The city of Detroit, home to the Big Three, would be hardest hit if the government allows these auto makers to fall into bankruptcy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt—Getty Images

The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture, better known as UNESCO, has just designated Detroit as the first “City of Design” in the United States.

The recognition comes as part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, which was established to promote cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The City of Design label recognizes a destination’s design legacy and their commitment to promote cultural and creative industries. The recognition is a symbol of how hard Detroit has worked—and continues to work—to rebuild itself as a model of development after decades of urban decay.

“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,” Ellie Schneider, Interim Executive Director of the Detroit Creative Corridor who put together Detroit’s application for the program, told Architectural Digest.

Detroit now sits alongside such cities as Bilbao, Buenos Aires, Helsinki, and Bandung, Indonesia, as well as this year’s other honorees, Budapest and Singapore, as cities of design.

And while it’s America’s first City of Design, Detroit wasn’t the only U.S. city to be recognized by UNESCO this year: Austin, Texas was noted for Media Arts and Tucson, Arizona was honored for its contributions to Gastronomy.

UNESCO chose a total of 47 cities to join the network this year, which marks a major expansion of the program. Now, a total of 116 cities currently make up the network, whose aim 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.”

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This article was previously published on Travel + Leisure.