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A sculpture at Canberra airport

We've got designs on a global accolade for Australia's capital...

Montreal, Buenos Aires, Bilbao, Helsinki, Beijing… all are among the world’s most stunning cities. And all are recognised as UNESCO cities of Design.

Why not Canberra?

Adding Australia’s capital to the list of global design cities is a goal of the  Design Canberra festival. As a gold sponsor of the event and a leading voice in Canberra’s design community, ThinkPlace is proud to lead the charge.

On Tuesday November 20 we’re running an event  as part of the festival. Entry is free but by invitation only.

Natalie Coyles's profile'
Natalie Coyles
Natalies Coyles in the ThinkPlace design Studio
Canberra has a history and culture that make it perfectly suited to be a Global design City, ThinkPlace's Natalie Coyles (right) says.

Over the course of two and a half hours we will:

  • Explore what it means to be a UNESCO city of Design
  • Design what it could mean for Canberra to join this international community
  • Discover where are we at right now.  What has already been considered/ decided
  • Evaluate what decisions need to be made next and build a plan

The event is far more than a talk fest. Expert voices and key supporters from across the territory will come together to design a pathway towards certification for Australia’s bush capital.

We will decide on next steps, begin building the collaborative relationships necessary to succeed and allocate responsibilities as part of an ongoing strategy. All of this will take place under the expert facilitation of ThinkPlace’s Natalie Coyles, an architect and passionate advocate for the power of design and placemaking to shape communities and individual lived experience.

“Canberra is one of the great cities of the world that has been created by design,” Natalie says.

“Having been realised through an international design competition, it seems so appropriate for us to join this global community.

“There is so much potential for us to amplify our already-rich creative collaborations on an international scale. We are primed and ready to innovate with likeminded cities across the globe to achieve great things!”

What is a City of Design?

The City of Design accolade, created by UNESCO in 2004, aims to promote the development of local creative industries, and to build relationships and resource-sharing between fellow Cities of Design.

To achieve City of Design status, cities must meet criteria defined by UNESCO that include having a thriving design industry fed by design schools and research centres, as well as a strong practising culture of creators and designers.

Participation in this event is by Invitation.  For inquiries contact info [at]

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