Geelong UNESCO City of Design

As Australia’s first (and only) City of Design, Geelong is a member of the UNESCO Creative City Network.

Geelong has a long and proud history as a creative city and a leader in design. On 31 October 2017 Geelong was designated a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

The City of Design designation is about using creativity and innovation to build more sustainable, resilient and inclusive communities. It fits perfectly with our 30-year, community-led vision to be internationally recognised as a clever and creative city-region.

Visit the Geelong City of Design website for full details.

What is the UNESCO Creative Cities Network?

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004. The aim of the network is to make creativity an essential driver for sustainable urban renewal and development.

Today, the network comprises of 246 global cities who have committed to placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

To foster partnerships and synergy, the UCCN cities are designated in one of the seven creative fields covered by the Network:

  • crafts and folk art
  • design
  • film
  • gastronomy
  • literature
  • music
  • media arts.

Geelong's design heritage

Our history has been filled with many Australian and world design firsts. Some Geelong inventions or designs have changed the world.

Geelong is the home of the first designed commercial refrigeration (James Harrison 1851). The Ford 'ute', which is the forerunner to the modern SUV, was designed by Lew Bandt and built here in 1934.

There is the Hills Hoist, which was a staple in so many Australian backyards in the mid to late twentieth century.

Geelong is also the birth place and home of a number of significant world renowned design practitioners, including Stuart Devlin, AO, CMG and Grant Featherston, furniture designer.

Architecturally, Geelong exhibits a wonderful mix of classic 'Boom Time' civic and industrial buildings, many of which have been repurposed for modern usages. Our stunning, contemporary designed Waterfront precinct, provides the perfect intersection between the human, land and maritime influences of our coastal location.

Design remains a driver of the Geelong economic and creative sectors, with Ford Motor Company committing its resources to the Geelong based Hi-Tech Design, Innovation and Research Centre. Deakin University's Carbon Nexus and the Australian Future Fibres Research Innovation Centre, providing world leading materials based around applied design.

Other Creative Cities of Design

There are currently 43 other UNESCO Cities of Design around the world. 

This is an initiative by the City of Greater Geelong's Economic Development unit. Please contact [email protected] for more details.

Geelong City of Design Stakeholder Day - March 2019

Page last updated: Thursday, 4 May 2023