Econcult: Area of Research in Economics of Culture and Tourism

Valencia, centre of debates between design, urban innovation and public policy

Valencia, centre of debates between design, urban innovation and public policy

The first DESIGNSCAPES Policy Forum on the relationship between design and public policy, named “Design and Public Policy: A Two-Way Street,” will take place in Valencia on 10th and 11th, 2020.

The event is an exciting part of the European project H2020 DESIGNSCAPES, and is co-organized by both the research unit of Econcult at the University of Valencia, and the organism of World Design Capital (WDC) Valencia 2022. A forum will be comprised of a series of sessions and conferences in the Centro Cultural La Nau and the Príncipe Felipe Museum, located in the cultural complex La Ciutat de les Artes y les Ciencies.

The project aims to promote design and innovation as important means to creating valuable resources. It focuses on the potential of urban environments throughout Europe to adopt and improve design-based solutions, with corporations, startups, public institutions and other urban stakeholders as major actors.

The sessions will begin with a keynote speech by the Mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, that will act as both a reference for design in urban policy and a call for European and Mediterranean cities to share experiences and experiment together. Participants include representatives from cities that make significant use of design, such as Helsinki, London, Lille, and Turin.


Addressing A New Perspective on Design Policy

The forum advocates for design policy as a two-way path: public policy should be conducive to innovation in urban design and, in turn, design should be used to create public policy.

Employing this lens, the event will harbour a public space to debate and explore why and how European investors from both the public and private sectors can benefit from integrating design into urban environments. The forum will also generate proposals for vertical policy measures that boost design and innovation in European agents and systems.

Empirical studies, both by DESIGNSCAPES and other parallel research projects, will be presented to show how design enables urban innovation to solve global challenges— with a special focus on sustainability, digital economies, welfare and European values.


A Congregation of Top Experts In Design, Innovation And Public Policy

The forum will bring together an international group of advanced scholars and specialists in the field of design, innovation and public policy. All are active public opinion leaders who advocate for user-centric design and the adoption of design tools and methods as a means to enable user-oriented innovation in public sector organisations and businesses— especially SMEs.

In recent years, these experts have conducted a number of empirical studies to examine how and to what extent design can contribute to performance, the digital economy, sustainable development, social innovation, and the expansion of European values. Their research provides rich scientific evidence in favour of public policies that foster and strengthen design innovation in European cities.

The knowledge and experience of these experts will be shared at the forum through a set of keynote speeches, interventions and round table sessions. Highlights include:

  • “Design and the city” by Joan Ribó, mayor of the city of Valencia
  • “A global brand for design policy” by David Kusuma, president-elect of the World Design Organization (WDO)
  • “Towards a New Generation in Design Policy for Europe” by Päivi Tahkokallio, President of the Bureau of European Design Associations (BEDA)
  • Public service innovation in the perspective of the digital transformation” by Gianluca Misuraca, senior scientist at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre
  • “Social Design and the Expansion of Value” by Lucy Kimbell, director of the Institute of Social Design at the University of the Arts London.

In addition to these outstanding personalities, various collaborators on the H2020 DESIGNSCAPES project will also participate in the forum. These include the University of Aalborg (Denmark), the Technical University of Delft (The Netherlands), Surrey University (the UK) and the University of Valencia, etc.


The Forum and Valencia, World Design Capital

This first DESIGNSCAPES Policy Forum will set the stage for years of events and will be a focal point of the innovation and creativity surrounding the celebration of WDC Valencia 2022.

It is no coincidence that so many experts are gathering this year in Valencia, a city that has made a strong commitment to design and innovation in urban spaces and plans to continue in this vein. Awarded World Design Capital for 2022 last year, Valencia is preparing for an historical event expected to have a remarkable impact on the city.

The Declaration of Valencia is scheduled to be made before the end of the forum. It will highlight the importance of design and innovation in terms of problem solving and improvement in European cities. Thanks to the personalities that will be present in Valencia next March, the declaration will act as guideline for Europe’s short-term future in Europe.

The organisation would like to invite anyone interested in finding out more or participating in these conferences and activities— or anyone who simply wishes to enjoy a space devoted to design and innovation.

The forum will be in English with live translations for the mayor’s inaugural conference. The conferences are completely free, but places are limited, and prior registration is required.


For registration and further information, visit the Policy Forum website at:

Contact person:

Mr. Pere Martínez Pastor (

Universitat de València. School of Economics

Department of Applied Economics

Office 2P05 (2nd floor)

Avinguda Tarongers s/n 46022 València