Tel Aviv Declared 'Creative City' by UNESCO

Tel Aviv chosen, with 40 other world cities, as a Creative City in the category of Media Arts. Flourishing high-tech scene cited as reason.

Cynthia Blank ,

Tel Aviv's skyline
Tel Aviv's skyline

A decade after receiving official recognition as a world heritage site for its beautiful collection of 4000 original white Bauhaus buildings, Tel Aviv is being recognized as the newest member of UNESCO's Creative Cities Network in the category of Media Arts. 

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, has established the Creative Cities Network in an effort to encourage cooperation and partnership between international cities as well as to promote local creative industries and combine entrepreneurship and creativity to strengthen local economy and social development. 

On Monday night, Tel Aviv will join 41 other cities across the world - each recognized in one of seven creative categories: Literature, Film, Music, Craft and Folk Art, Design, Media Arts, and Gastronomy. Other notable cities include Dublin (Literature), Liverpool (Music), Sydney (Film) and Berlin (Design). 

The Media Arts category, which Tel Aviv is being recognized in, includes cities characterized by the existence of creative industries and cultural activity driven by the use of digital technology and the implementation of media arts for the benefit of improving urban life. 

These characteristics are measured by the accessibility of cultural events and products through digital technology as well as the existence of electronic art forms - their integration in civil society and their ability to strengthen local studios and media arts projects. 

Tel Aviv's flourishing high-tech scene, with more than 700 early startups in a city with just over 400,000 residents, earned the White City its place in the network. 

Joining the Creative Cities Network is seen as a great honor for the city and a tremendous opportunity for Tel Aviv to continue the development of activities, projects, and initiatives in the field of Media Arts and culture.

It will also allow Tel Aviv to strengthen the Municipality's activities with the wide range of communities living in the city - including academia, the business sector, industry, cultural institutions and more. 

Tel Aviv-Yafo Mayor, Ron Huldai, had only positive things to say about the achievement. 

"Ten years ago, UNESCO declared the White City of Tel Aviv as a world heritage site. The world recognized the importance of the city's architectural past."

"Starting from today, 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." 

In order to maintain its title as a Creative City, Tel Aviv will present to UNESCO annually its cooperative and artistic initiatives with officials in the city as well as internationally.