Tel Aviv joins UNESCO ‘Creative Cities’ list

Designation, earned for ‘media arts,’ will allow municipality to develop international partnerships

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

The Azrieli Towers, Tel Aviv, a center of commerce in Israel. (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
The Azrieli Towers, Tel Aviv, a center of commerce in Israel. (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Tel Aviv was named one of the 28 new “creative cities” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

UNESCO made the announcement Monday, giving the White City the designation in the media arts category.

The cities were given the designation in seven categories — Craft and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music.

Other cities to join the list included York, England (media arts), Bilbao, Spain (design), Hanover, Germany (music), and Prague, Czech Republic (literature).

There are now 69 “creative cities.”

“By joining the Network, cities commit to collaborate and develop partnerships with a view to promoting creativity and cultural industries, to share best practices, to strengthen participation in cultural life, and to integrate culture in economic and social development plans,” said UNESCO.

Tel Aviv had previously been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site for its more than 4,000 white Bauhaus buildings in the city.

Cities that were given the creative cities designation in media arts “are characterized by the existence of creative industries and cultural activity driven by the use of digital technology and the successful implementation of media arts for the benefit of improving urban life,” according to a statement by the Government Press Office. “This is measured by the accessibility of cultural events and products through digital technology and the existence of electronic art forms and their integration into the life of civil society and their ability to strengthening local working studios and media arts projects.”

There are more than 700 early stage startups in Tel Aviv, according to the GPO, giving it the second-highest number of start-ups of any city in the world, and has the highest number of start-ups per capita.

“Tel Aviv’s entrance to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network UNESCO reflects the world’s recognition of the city’s contribution to the present and the future — recognition of Tel Aviv as a vibrant center of cultural creation and breakthrough technology, the creative industries and the focus of the original visionary scene of digital innovation and initiatives,” said Mayor Ron Huldai.

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