Speaking to Dezeen at the Gwangju Design Biennale, International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) president-elect Brandon Gien cited the current financial climate and high cost of hosting the event as a possible reason for the lack of interest in the project.
"It's disappointing that only one city made it through, maybe it's a sign of the economic times," he said. "It's perhaps an indicator that we need to look at World Design Capital so it's not prohibitive for cities around the world to enter, because it is expensive."
He hopes that a city from a developing country submits a bid next time around as he believes they would benefit the most from carrying the title.
"I would love to see developing countries around the world have the ability put themselves forward for World Design Capital," said Gien. "It's the people of those cities that probably need design the most."
Last month the ICSID, which oversees the World Design Capital programme, revealed that the city of Taipei submitted the only bid with any potential to successfully quality for the accolade, which is awarded to one city every two years.
The Taiwanese capital passed the first evaluation phase last month, though Gien was unable to say what will happen if Taipei fails to qualify for the designation and simply proposed to "cross that bridge if we get there".
He is confident about more interest for 2018 and said many cities have already expressed interest. "I know a whole bunch of cities in the pipeline wanting to put forward a bid for 2018, so maybe it's just a cyclical thing," Gien said.
Gien also insists that Helsinki, World Design Capital 2012, saw a rise in the amount of tourists that visited during the year. Turin and Seoul have also held the title since its inception, with Cape Town poised to take over for 2014.
Whether or not Taipei receives the 2016 title is due to be announced later this month.
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