Following a successful joint bid for World Design Capital 2024 (WDC 2024), the UC San Diego Design Lab (Design Lab), Design Forward Alliance (DFA), Burnham Center for Community Advancement (BCCA), city of San Diego (San Diego) and city of Tijuana (Tijuana), today announced the creation of a new, 501c3 organization to coordinate the binational initiative. The new organization, the San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital 2024, also announced its executive leadership team, which will guide the nonprofit organization and provide oversight and direction for community involvement, planning, preparation and execution of the year-long 2024 World Design Capital initiative. 

The San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital 2024 has established a dual-executive model to lead the regional 2024 efforts. This model is the first of many efforts and programs that will ensure human-centered design principles are used to deliver regional impact, and business and operational management deliver impactful and operational success.

Michele Morris, who currently serves as the Associate Director of the Design Lab, has been named Chief Design Officer. Morris co-led the community-sourced bid process that resulted in the award, and will continue to provide expertise and guide human-centered design thinking as community partners develop programs and regional solutions in association with WDC 2024. She has decades of experience in public, private, higher education and non-profit sectors and is passionate about humanity-centered design, strategic leadership and high-impact initiatives. 

Carlos de la Mora has been named Chief Executive Officer for the San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital 2024. In this role, de la Mora will overlay his background in architecture and urban planning and design with strong business acumen to guide the day-to-day operations of the new organization. He has extensive experience working cross-culturally and connecting people, projects and resources throughout the binational region. Most recently, de la Mora lent his collaborative spirit, vision and executive leadership to ULI Mexico, where he served as executive director. 

“The founding partners and board are thrilled to announce the new organization and its executive leadership so that the next phase of work to deliver on our World Design Capital 2024 initiatives can begin in earnest,” said Mai Nguyen, chair of the San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital 2024 board of directors and Director with founding partner organization, the UC San Diego Design Lab. “This leadership team has the deep expertise, relationships and support needed to highlight our dynamic region and create sustained impact through human-centered design.”

Designated every two years by the World Design Organization, the World Design Capital is a long-term transformative platform and year-long celebration designed to foster civic pride, increase public awareness of the importance of human-centered design, and drive collaboration and innovation that enhance the host region and improve the quality of life for its residents. The joint bid by San Diego and Tijuana will elevate both communities and strengthen their bond as one binational region that will continue to work together beyond 2024. 

“The formation of this organization marks a crucial milestone as San Diego and Tijuana embark on World Design Capital 2024. The eyes of the world will be upon our binational region, and I can’t wait to show off all that we have to offer – our unparalleled climate and quality of life, innovative business sectors and world-renowned arts and design landscape,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. "All of our best attributes are made better through our relationship with Tijuana – and this effort highlights that.”

The San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital organization will continue to expand its team and community engagement work throughout the summer by adding additional staff and engaging regional stakeholders and the community at large to support the coming years of work. The first major event for the organization will occur this fall with an official signing ceremony involving civic and design leaders from both Tijuana and San Diego as well as the World Design Organization.

The World Design Organization gave the designation to our binational region because we share an innovative multicultural identity. “I am certain that our connection as border cities will be a great model for the international community on how to grow and succeed together. We are two cities, two countries, and one mega-region: Tijuana y San Diego para todos.” said Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero. “This will come together for everyone when the Tijuana and San Diego urban areas act as the World Design Capital in 2024.”

A press conference to announce upcoming plans and opportunities for the community to get involved will be held in late July. 


About San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital 2024:

San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital 2024 is the 501c3 organization created to guide the San Diego - Tijuana region’s planning, execution and community involvement of its designation as the World Design Capital 2024. The biennial designation is awarded by the World Design Organization, and recognizes cities for their effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural and environmental development. The selection of the San Diego-Tijuana joint bid makes it the first binational World Design Capital in history. While the designation is for both cities as a region, San Diego is now the first U.S. city ever to receive the designation. Tijuana is the second city in Mexico to hold the title, following Mexico City in 2018. The region’s winning bid reflects the collective efforts of founding partners UC San Diego Design LabBurnham Center for Community AdvancementDesign Forward Alliance, City of San Diego and City of Tijuana, as well as numerous community supporters. The year-long celebration, as well as its associated events, initiatives and programs, is expected to generate more than $1.5 billion in total economic impact for the region. More information about San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital 2024 is available at




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