World Design Summit—Montréal 2017

16 October 2017
25 October 2016
We invite ico-D Members to join global attendees and come together to transcend silos, foster cooperation and enhance professional development.

About WDS

The World Design Summit—Montréal 2017 event is being positioned as a new biennial multifaceted world Design event. It is a three-part event and formal meeting of design professionals, government and business leaders, industry representatives, media and NGOs in an unprecedented international gathering of diverse disciplines with a common focus: how design can shape a better future for all. We invite ico-D Members to take an active part in the events.

For this first World Design Summit (WDS), there will be three main components: CONGRESS, EXHIBITION and SUMMIT MEETING—the Congress being most relevant to ico-D Members—which will be hosted over 10 days in Montréal from 16–25 October 2017. The WDS SUMMIT MEETING is being led by WDS founding partnersico-D (International Council of Design), IFHP (International Federation for Housing and Planning) and IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects).

We invite ico-D Members to join global attendees and come together to transcend silos, foster cooperation and enhance professional development. More than a celebration of Design, the WDS will demonstrate the tremendous power of design to create viable solutions to global, social, economic, cultural and environmental challenges.

In her Congress keynote address, at the conclusion of Eeum: “Design Connects” 2015 International Design Congress in Gwangju, Korea, World Design Summit Organisation President Sheila Copps (former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada) challenged the international design community to make themselves heard. At the final summit session she said: "If you look around this room you have enough brain power to change the planet whether you’re building houses or figuring out how to communicate principles of design to ordinary citizens. Designers have the potential to engage government leaders to take action."

According to ico-D President David Grossman, the Montréal 2017 WDS events provide a unique opportunity for the international design community to effect change, says  Individual designers will be able to actively participate in a rich program covering many disciplines of design, architecture and planning. This will be an opportunity for learning, interaction and expression. In the Summit Meeting, international design organisations will be collaborating with important international economic, social, environmental and cultural entities to foster better utilisation of the potential of design.


WDS Schedule

More details:


WDS Components

CONGRESS (16–20 October 2017)—ico-D Members Save the Date!

Design practitioners, scholars and stakeholders will gather at a fully accredited conference to address numerous topics on six themes spanning multiple design disciplines. ico-D Educational, Professional and Promotional Members are encouraged to participate at this level of the WDS in conjunction with the 2017 Platform Meetings and ico-D General Assembly (GA) which will be included in the greater Congress programme.

All sessions at the WDS Congress are designed to intersect, encouraging the sharing of knowledge between disciplines, including the Architecture, Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture sectors. Leading minds from around the globe will come together to discuss, explore, share and create a vision of a better future shaped by design.

EXHIBITION (1620 October 2017)

The World Design Summit Expo is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase and promote products and services and interact with the international design community. The event will attract design professionals, public and private decision-makers, the media, and the public at large. Participation is open to organiSations that represent, promote or sell a design-related product or service. All applications will be reviewed for compatibility, quality and appropriateness.

SUMMIT MEETING (23–24 October 2017)

Leading international organisations will develop a joint declaration of intent and an implementation framework that will reflect the aspirations of the international design community. This framework will focus on the use of design as an economic driver and as a mechanism to exert positive political, social and environmental change across design disciplines.

You are invited to actively participate in the Congress program.

The CONGRESS component will address aspects of the six major themes.


WDS Congress: Six major themes


In this era, individuals and groups can take part in social and political life—or all kinds of private or public projects—through a number of public platforms and policies. In this often collaborative and consultative context, what is the role and status of the designer? Design disciplines fundamentally contribute to shaping the virtual and physical public spaces of communities, as well as fostering and shaping culture and heritage, both past and future. How can designers help address issues like inequality or the evolution of participation and representation in the political process and in social life?



In the midst of the Anthropocene, how can we transform our living environments to respect the capacity of ecosystems and, even more, restore their balance and reveal their potential? Humans are indeed part of nature and, as such, as fragile as our living environment. Beyond responding to emergencies and disasters or immediate conditions, the design disciplines can also offer broader, sustainable approaches to shape the world for the long term. Going beyond short-term, market-driven needs can allow designers to drop conventions, look at their work on a different scale and become agents of change who can generate alternatives to the status quo.



From creating useful objects to planning green spaces in urban contexts, design disciplines share a concern for sensible and wise design, in a world in search of meaning and prosperity. The beauty of designed objects, buildings, interiors, cities and landscape isn’t superfluous: it is essential. However, the decision of making them beautiful or not is often political. Furthermore, these perspectives on sustaining wellbeing and making life more than just bearable oscillate between universal design that reaches across the globe to inspiration from local realities that can provide more adapted ways to improve quality of life.



The role of design within modern economic systems can take many shapes and generate often unexpected results – with outcomes that can be significantly better or worse than originally planned. What is the value of design, within the production of goods and the development of society as a whole? While design can be used for commodity, it can also be used for the common good, with the latter implying a more political design voice, driven by values and ideals, rather than a solely monetary purpose.



Climatic shifts, seasonal changes, day and night cycles, high tides, low tides and human tides all impose transformative criteria and context to the design of goods, experiences and processes, both for more permanent projects and for more fleeting moments. The evolving nature of the relationship between cities, their surrounding hinterland and global networks of all kinds also create a need for adapting and rethinking territories and exchanges. New insights, new approaches, new tools and new materials facilitate the increased need to design, redesign or rethink – and therefore make design a source of transformation.



Recent migratory movements are challenging political and design strategies to forecast gradual human migrations between countries and even within one country, through political upheavals and/or as a result of climate change. As rising sea levels change the shape of continents, as new spaces become more accessible and others unliveable, the capacity to adjust to such dramatic shifts will become even more essential. Canada, reaching all the way to the Arctic, will be at the heart of those changes. How can design solutions support these sociological, economic or political migrations.


Read the ico-D news story Next Stop: MontréalWDS 2017 Official website:


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