Transforming our cities together, this is one of the missions of the project Human Cities_Challenging the City Scale.

Beyond the European area, this topic is concerning cities around the world. That’s why, since the creation of the project, the Cité du design Saint-Etienne, its leader,  has decided to use its rich international network of partners to share knowledge and experience.

During the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2017, the Cité du design decided to invite Detroit, USA, as its Guest of Honour. Both  UNESCO Cities of Design,  Detroit and Saint-Etienne have a lot of common as former industrial cities, using creativity to reinvent themselves. Detroit  shared its experience of a resilient city, placing art and design at the heart of its economic growth.

Detroiters, but also representatives of other UNESCO creative cities such as Dundee, Montreal, or Nagoya participated in the Human Cities activities programmed for the  Biennale, together with the European partners and Saint-Etienne local stakeholders.

Josyane Franc, the general coordinator of Human Cities_Challenging the City Scale project, explains how these local, European and global scales were crossing, creating intense exchange of ideas, perspectives and mutual understanding.

Since 2014, the Human Cities network has been working on Challenging the City Scale to question the urban scale and investigate cocreation in cities. The Human Cities partners have carried out urban experimentations in 11 European cities empowering citizens to rethink the spaces in which they live, work and spend their leisure time.

Challenging the City Scale, journeys  in People-Centred Design is the final book of the project. Through conversations with people involved, the book examines how bottom-up processes and their design, tools and instruments generate new ideas to reinvent the city. It offers inspiration and insights to everyone, from practitioners and politicians to designers and active citizens, eager to try out new ways to produce more human cities together.

Title : Challenging the City Scale, Journeys in People-Centred Design

Collective book co-edited by: Olivier Peyricot, Josyane Franc, Frank Van Hasselt
Authors: Josyane Franc, Olivier Peyricot, John Thackara, Alice Holmberg, Côme Bastin, Fleur Weinberg, Anya Sirota,  Frank Van Hasselt, Robin Houterman
Graphic design: Audrey Templier, Isabelle Daëron Language: English Publisher and distributor: Birkhäuser, Basel
Co editors : Cité du design (Saint-Etienne) et Clear Village (Londres) ISBN: 978-3-0356-1796-2 Format : 21,5 x 26 cm (vertical)– 176 p Price: 39.95 € Available in partner’s  bookshops and bookshop distributed by Birkhäuser Open access digital version:

In September 2018, all the European partners of Human Cities_Challenging the City Scale were invited to present the project in a conference and exhibition Human City Design co-curated by the Cité du design Saint-Etienne, the Seoul Design Foundation and Nagoya UNESCO City of Design.
The aim: initaiting a cooperation network in Asia, inspired by the European project.

Since then, the City of Seoul and Seoul Design Foundation have been committed into promoting the initiatives reflecting the issues of Human Cities. That’s why the Seoul Design Foundation has launched a Human City Design Award 2019 , in partnership with Saint-Etienne and Nagoya UNESCO Cities of Design. This award is meant to be global ; addressed to all the designers in the world  involved in projects for  more human and sustainable cities. 

Theme: Design for Sustainable City for a harmonious relationship between human and the environment


  1. To establish a sustainable city ecosystem for a harmonious relationship between people and the environment through design
  2. To discuss design as a creative solution of complex social problems in the city and expand design’s healing effects around the world
  3. To make the design sector contribute to the development of mankind

Area: Projects that contribute to a more harmonious and sustainable relationship between people and people, people and society, people and the environment and people and nature


Individuals or organizations who have five or more years of experience in design-related field and providing a recommendation letter from nations, local city governments, design-related universities or design-related associations

Award : 

  • 1Grand Prize for  1 laureate  [Human City Grand Prize]
  • 10  Benefit Awards  for applicants who qualified at the 1st review

Grand Prize Money : 100 000 000 wons (KRW)
*  worth à 85 000 US$ or 76 000 € (variable according to the rate of exchange)

Benefit Award  and Grand Prize

  • Participation as a speaker at 2019 Seoul Design Week International Conference
  • Support for exhibition at 2019 Seoul Design Week “Human City Design Award”
  • Support for a visit to 2019 Seoul Design Week (airfare and lodging expenses)

Dates (Korean Standard Time)

  • Official Announcement I 27 June 2019 (Thur.) ~ 06 August 2019 (Tue.)
  • 1st Registration I 08 July 2019 (Mon.) ~ 06 August 2019 (Tue.)
  • 1st Review I 07 August 2019 (Wed.) ~ 11 August 2019 (Sun.)
  • 2nd Registration I 12 August 2019 (Mon.) ~ 16 August 2019 (Fri.)
  • 2nd Review I 17 August 2019 (Sat.) ~ 21 August 2019 (Wed.)
  • Final Review (including Site Verification) I 22 August 2019 (Thur.) ~ 03 September 2019 (Tue.)
  • Announcement of Winner I Early September 2019

Details of the call, Judging criteria, entry form  and  FAQ :

Contact :

“Re-thinking the contemporary city through the prism of a multi-level network”.This what the UNESCO considered as exemplary for the sustainable development of cities in the case of the project Human Cities_Challenging the City Scale. On 18th October 2016, UNESCO officially launched in Quito its  “Global Report, Culture: Urban Future“.  A rich (300 p) document gathering case studies and recommendations to support governments in the implementation of cultural policies for sustainable urban development.  It means a great acknowledgement for the Human Cities partners and a great encouragement to continue the dialogue between creators, citizens and insititutions to shape the futures of the cities.

Actually, one specificity of our project is that, amongst its 12 partners, 5 of them are from cities members of the UNESCO Creative Cities network : Bilbao, Graz, Helsinki, Ljubljana, and Saint-Etienne. It has been proposed by the leader Cité du design, from Saint-Etienne, when building the project. Involving UNESCO creative cities allows a major international impact of its actions, reaching policy makers and researchers using UN resources. On the other hand, it gives a concrete example of collaboration within this relatively new network of cities established by the UNESCO to to strengthen the development of local cultural industries as a factor of sustainable development.

The selection of  Human Cities case studies for this Global Report comes just after its presentation in an exhibition and conference in Ostersund, Sweden, during the General Assembly of UNESCO Creative Network in September 2016. The Cité du design  Saint-Etienne proposed the project as a part of a Good Practice exhibition. Josyane Franc, its coordinator, which is also the coordinator for Saint-Etienne UNESCO Creative City of Design presented it on 15th September 2016 to an impressive and multicultural assembly of at least 500 people coming from 116 cities from 54 countries.


Integral UNESCO report:

UNESCO Creative Cities Network General Assembly in Ostersund: