UNESCO names Bangkok to Creative Cities Network

Known for its temples, shopping, and nightlife, Bangkok is also gaining a reputation for creativity. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Bangkok to its Creative Cities Network, saying the Thai capital’s design prowess and vibrant creative economy are central to its urban development.

“Being in UNESCO’s network of creative cities will help Bangkok obtain new knowledge and learn about strategies to develop the creative economy,” said Apisit Laistrooglai, Director of the Creative Economy Agency (CEA), a public agency that fosters urban initiatives. He added that membership in the network would serve as a catalyst for positive change.

UNESCO named seven other municipalities to its Creative Cities list in different categories. The organization selected Ambon in Indonesia for its music, Beirut in Lebanon for literature, Bendigo in Australia for gastronomy, Cebu City in the Philippines for design, Hanoi in Vietnam for design, Havana in Cuba for music, and Mumbai in India for film.

“All over the world, these cities, each in their own way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory of their strategy,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO director-general.

Bangkok is the third Thai city to make the list. The municipality of Phuket was chosen as a Creative City for Gastronomy in 2015, and Chiang Mai for Crafts and Folk Arts in 2017.

“Bangkok has enough cultural heritage, diversity of human resources, and economic factors to enable design to become one of the pillars of its economy,” said Sakchai Boonma, Deputy Governor of Bangkok.

“Design is not just an architectural product. It dovetails various disciplines, such as architecture, interior design, landscape, and town planning, communication, fashion, and advertising art. These disciplines are vital tools that the city can use for development,” Sakchai said.

“Design and creativity can also be at the heart of developing gastronomy, film, music, and other arts, and these areas have already been major factors that drive our economy,” he added.

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