The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 20 November 2015

Image: Alamy

Two to tango

Argentinians head to the polls on Sunday for the second round in a run-off vote that will determine who will become the next president. Daniel Scioli, from the ruling leftist Victory Front coalition, was once seen as the runaway victor but opposition candidate Mauricio Macri, from the centre-right Cambiemos, has gained momentum and has a 60 per cent chance of winning, according to US-based consultancy Eurasia Group. During a TV debate last week Macri cited “lies and a lack of investment” as the reasons why the populace had lost faith in the ruling party. Macri is still something of a polarising figure and protests are a possibility if he wins. Yet Argentina’s high inflation and stagnating economy could convince voters to elect him as the next president with the hope that he will set the economy right.

Jet again

The National Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition wrapped in Las Vegas on Thursday but not before Flexjet placed an order for 20 Aerion AS2 supersonic jets with delivery to begin in 2023. The order – valued at $2.4bn (€2.2bn) – has experts predicting the start of a new supersonic era. Flexjet intends to use the jets for overseas flights. While the aircraft can be flown subsonically – as would be necessary in Europe and the US where restrictions on sonic booms apply – it wouldn’t be cost-effective. So is supersonic business travel right around the corner? “I think it is and I think it’s quite exciting,” says Paul Bruce, a lecturer in the Aeronautics Department at Imperial College London. “We know how to do it and there’s now a better economic model [with smaller jets].”

Image: Aapo Haapanen

Food for thought

Few young people in Singapore are opting to run stalls in the ubiquitous open-air food courts known as hawker centres. As a result, retiring food vendors are passing on their woks and ladles to new migrants who have little personal connection to the food they sell. It’s a trend that Sim University hopes to reverse. The institution is partnering with culinary school Dignity Kitchen to create a degree programme that equips would-be hawkers with skills necessary to both run the stalls and manage food-court chains. “Hawker centres are more complicated to run than most realise and require specialised skills such as waste management,” says Dignity Kitchen director Koh Seng Choon. “With 20 hawker centres to be built in the next decade, there’s definitely demand for skilled labour.”

Worth the wait

The newly designed Arnhem Central station in the Netherlands opened to the public yesterday, nearly 20 years after the development was first announced. The Amsterdam-based architecture firm UNStudio won the project back in 1996 and started construction in 2006. “It was a highly complex project,” says architect Ben van Berkel. “It’s a whole new type of station.” The new transfer hall features smooth, curving walls and multiple above-ground levels with local and regional bus terminals, taxi stands and service areas. There are also office and retail spaces, as well as a generous lobby. With 110,000 passengers expected to use Arnhem Central every day by the year 2020, the station has arrived just in time.

From Monocle 24

Image: Shinya Suzuki

Public spaces in New York: Boardwalks

The Urbanist looks at how a natural disaster led to one of New York’s most successful public architecture projects. After the destruction of the boardwalks in Rockaway Beach by hurricane Sandy, Sage and Coombe Architects were tasked with getting the beaches back up and running.

From Monocle Films

Vienna: Capital charisma

We take a grand tour of an age-old favourite; the Austrian capital combines regal grandeur with a new-found finesse in everything from culture to food, art and design.

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