Urban Journalism Institute
Copenhagen, Denmark – Portland Towers, two silos converted into office buildings in the Nordhavn district.
© OliverFoerstner


UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture for 2023

The city of Copenhagen has been officially designated as the World Capital of Architecture for 2023 on the recommendation of the General Assembly of the International Union of Architects (UIA). This decision is in keeping with the partnership agreement established between UNESCO and the UIA in 2018, through which UNESCO designates the host cities of UIA’s World Congress as World Capitals of Architecture. 

UNESCO and the UIA launched the World Capital of Architecture initiative to highlight the key roles of architecture, city planning, and culture in shaping urban identity and sustainable urban development. Every three years, the city designated as World Capital of Architecture becomes a global forum at the forefront of discussions on contemporary urban planning and architecture. The torch of the World Capital of Architecture title passed to Copenhagen from Rio de Janeiro, which was the inaugural World Capital of Architecture, underlining the important role of urban planning, notably in the pandemic context. The newly designated World Capital of Architecture will continue to show the way in which cities, architecture, and culture can respond to the challenges of our time, especially regarding the environment and climate change. 

As the World Capital of Architecture for 2023, Copenhagen will host a series of major events and programmes with the theme “Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind.” In cooperation with the Danish Association of Architects and various Nordic professional bodies, the municipality will examine how urban design and architecture contribute to meeting the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Programmes of the World Capital of Architecture include walking and biking tours, rooftop tours, and plenty of exhibitions and panel discussions related to Danish urbanism, architecture and design, as well as guest exhibits such as the one on Japanese housing principles. 

Detailed programme at:


Following Copenhagen in 2023, Barcelona and Beijing were the two contenders looking to claim the World Capital of Architecture title in 2026 and host the next World Congress. The official decision was made in favour of Barcelona. 

Barcelona will also be hosting the 29th International Union of Architects World Congress. Barcelona won the rights to host with its winning bid under the theme “One today, one tomorrow”. The bid explores Barcelona’s approach to sustainability and the future of the built environment, and how we can reinvent the future of cities by following ecological and social principles.

Street life in Copenhagen. People riding bikes in the city centre.
© perekotypole