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A generation ago it was only New York’s mayors that could permeate the global political consciousness (Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani all became known well beyond their city’s limits) but today the world’s mayors are never out of the international headlines. Newspapers and commentators around the world wonder how Sadiq Khan can help London dodge the Brexit economic bullet; watch as Paris’s Anne Hidalgo is forced again and again to unite her city after terrorist attrocities; and wonder how young lawyer Virginia Raggi from the Five Star Movement in Rome is coping with turning the city around – or at least getting rubbish collected – since she was elected this summer.

These mayors and a host of other gold-chained players appear at conferences around the globe and pitch up for numerous international mayoral shindigs. Their pumped status flows from a simple fact: they know that they can do deals with each other that circumvent their often sluggish central governments. From climate change to culture, mayors are doing it for themselves and we love them for it.

So as summer fades in the northern hemisphere we thought we’d look at 15 mayors with global recognition or key problems to tackle to see how well (or not) they are doing. It has also allowed us to sit down with the new governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike; Barcelona’s radical leader Ada Colau; and Charlie Hales, the mayor of Portland, Oregon. What’s clear from their report cards is that even when you do some good things for your home patch, we citizens are often very hard to please.

We have also been looking at another city: Amsterdam. Ahead of the nation’s general election next year, we wanted to find an answer to a complex question: “Who are the Dutch?” It’s an interesting one because, while the Dutch are seen as the most liberal people in Europe thanks to their progressive laws on prostitution and drugs, the country also has a powerful and growing anti-migration movement that’s particularly focused on recent Muslim arrivals.

What looks like a split personality to outsiders could have a negative impact on the country’s allure for another migrant class: global businesses. Until now organisations looking for a city in which to anchor their European HQ have often headed to Amsterdam because they have felt that their staff can have a good quality of life – and all in English. But what happens when some employees start asking questions about how welcome they will truly be? It’s a story that needs to be managed and a good mayor will be able to explain that the city remains tolerant and open for people keen to join in – even if the debate elsewhere in the country is sharply different.

But there’s more than inspirational civic leadership for you this month. Our Culture editor Robert Bound has met the advisers, gallerists and artists who can tell you how to start a collection, from picking works that will stand the test of time to avoiding buying photographs just because they came from the studio of one of the great names of shutter work.

And that’s not all. Our in-depth retail and style surveys will, of course, show you some nice places to shop and things to buy. But following on from last month’s Entrepreneurs Guide, we also take time to show you how to open your own shop or launch a brand. It’s the season for new looks and for getting things done. Here goes.

Autumn agenda

  1. Pop into Carl Malmsten’s newly refreshed boutique on Stockholm’s Strandvagen. With its new layout and clear focus on exceptional upholstered pieces, you’ll likely find yourself looking for an Östermalm apartment to house it all.

  2. Check out the tastiest Moorish (and moreish) delights at The Barbary in London’s Neal’s Yard, the snug second venue from the talented team behind The Palomar.

  3. Find time to connect through Bangkok and visit Siam Discovery’s men’s department, where you can get fitted for some custom lace-ups – locally made and a cheaper alternative to Hender Scheme.

  4. Visit John Pawson’s much anticipated new Design Museum in London’s Kensington, open from late November.

  5. Join us at Midori House for another of our live show sessions on Monocle 24 – Section D is on 18 October. Tickets will be on sale online.

  6. Monocle 24 will also be bringing you a new series on the US election, as well as some fresh episodes of The Big Interview.

  7. Block some time very late November or super early December for our business-focused conference somewhere in Europe. More details on this shortly.

  8. The most fun part of Frieze week (6 to 9 October) may well be 1:54, the contemporary African art fair at Somerset House. How do you squeeze a continent under one roof? Hurry to the Strand and see. Oh, we will be broadcasting live too.

  9. Let your curiosity wrestle your snobbery to the ground: go and see Lazarus, David Bowie’s posthumous musical. In London from 25 October.

  10. Moma Design Store in New York will reopen after a refresh by UK-based Lumsden Design and Gensler (opened in 1990, it’s last renovation was in 1999).

  11. Don’t buy that new TV just yet. German brand Loewe are debuting a fine line-up of new models that will look very handsome atop your USM sideboard.

  12. Sup a cocktail at one of Seattle’s newest watering holes: El Sirenito, sister venue to popular Mexican restaurant Fonda La Catrina.

  13. The New York Film Festival runs from 30 September to 16 October. We’re looking forward to The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography, directed by Errol Morris.

  14. Having trouble getting your autumn lighting right? Swiss brand Righi Licht still produces proper old-school lightbulbs in an array of shapes, sizes and brilliance. If you missed our story on this company, check out issue 88.

  15. Stock up on winter boots at the new Manhattan shop from Aussie leather-specialist RM Williams. Its slick interior boasts an original sculpture up by Mika Utzon Popov, the grandson of venerated architect Jørn Utzon (of Sydney Opera House fame).

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