Sydney has lost its bid for World Design Capital 2020, for which it was shortlisted in June. The title, which was announced earlier this week, was instead given to the French city of Lille.

Selected every two years by the Montreal-based World Design Organization (WDO), the title of World Design Capital is given to the city that is best seen to represent “design-led innovation to progress its economic, social, cultural and environmental development”.

This year, five international cities registered their intent to bid for the title, but only Sydney and Lille remained in contention after the shortlist was revealed in June.

When representatives of the WDO visited Sydney in July to assess the city’s potential on the ground, they were impressed by the scale and breadth of private sector support for the bid, but found that it was lacking adequate support from all levels of government.

“Shortlisted candidate Sydney, Australia mounted a compelling bid, with the hopes of using the WDC programme as an open platform to engage, collaborate and design a new model of social impact for an increasingly urbanised world, one that embraces the land, connects to the climate and engages not only its citizens but also people around the world,” says the WDO.

“While they were unable to secure the relevant government support, their bid clearly set in motion a collaborative design movement that continues to resonate in their city and has served only to deepen their resolve as they set their sights on 2022.”

Of the winning city, the WDO by the city’s multi-dimensional design initiatives. They believed that the title would help Lille achieve its potential as a design hub capable of competing on an international level.

“As a strategically located metropolis in the heart of Europe, Lille is an intellectual, cultural, socioeconomic and creative hub of significance to the sub-region and beyond,” states professor Mugendi M’Rithaa, president and member of the WDC 2020 Selection Committee.

“Their bid references their creative traditions and rich heritage whilst showcasing the catalytic benefits of embracing human-centred design thinking at cityscale.”