Iowa City and Shenzhen, designated as UNESCO Creative Cities

Iowa City and Shenzhen, designated as UNESCO Creative Cities

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, has nominated the two cities of Iowa City (USA) and Shenzhen (China) as "City of Literature" and "City of Design" of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network.

The panel of experts that evaluated the application of Iowa City recognized this University town’s unique profile as a creative writing and reading centre with impressive history of literary accomplishments. The community’s strategic commitment to literary culture through the diversity of grassroots initiatives, such as the Iowa’s Writers Workshop and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, was highly regarded as an instructional model and inspiration for other small cities to promote local economic and socio-cultural development through creative industries.


The panel further acknowledged Shenzhen for its capacity as a fast-growing city, with a short yet dynamic history and young population. With the strong support of the local government, the city holds a solid position in the design sector, with its vibrant graphic and industrial design sector, rapid development in digital content and online interactive design, and reputation for novel practises in packaging design with advanced techniques and environmental solutions. The experts also underlined Shenzhen‘s vision to using design as a strategic tool in piloting urban transformations while respecting balanced economic development opportunities within socio-culturally relevant contexts.


UNESCO established the Creative Cities Network at the end of 2004 to support social, economic and cultural development. The cities that join the network promote their local creative scene, share their experience with a wider audience, and create new opportunities, especially in collaboration with other member cities, to drive joint development results for creative industries. The development of partnerships between the public and private sectors is a key feature of the network.


With Iowa City and Shenzhen, the Creative Cities Network now has 16 members.

  • Source:UNESCO HQ
  • 19-11-2008

    Resources