While the US’s fastest-growing-cities lists have recently been dominated by those in Texas, 2016 won’t see Houston booming like in previous years. The reason? The continued global collapse of crude-oil prices. With 29,000 energy workers laid off during the course of 2015, some investors have been getting jittery. But there won’t be another economic crash similar to the oil slump of 1984 to 1986 thanks to a diverse economy that will have added 30,000 positions in other fields by the end of 2015, according to the Greater Houston Partnership. “We’re not the ones poking a hole in the ground looking for oil anymore,” says Patrick Jankowski, the partnership’s senior vice-president of research. “We develop the technology for someone else to do it.” With logistics, manufacturing and healthcare in rude health, Houston’s growth spurt – albeit slower-paced – should continue.
The CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, has had a tough 2015; the year saw budget cuts, several high-profile scandals involving some of its most prominent personalities and an identity crisis of sorts. Yet things might look rosier in 2016, with the promise of CA$150m (€100m) in additional funds from the new Liberal government. “The main bright spot is that the CBC is no longer facing a federal government that is openly hostile to its very existence,” says John Doyle, a television critic for The Globe and Mail in Toronto. But, he says, fresh funds alone won’t be enough to put the spring back in the broadcaster’s step: “I think the CBC is still in a situation where it is unsure of its role, of its mandate, in Canada.”
Brisbane’s push to become a regional business power is starting to pay dividends: it was named Asia Pacific’s best-prepared city to encourage foreign direct investment. Australia’s third city trumped runners-up Hong Kong and Tokyo to take the Foreign Direct Investment Strategy category in FDI Intelligence’s Asia-Pacific Cities of the Future rankings. In recent years Brisbane has poured millions into promoting itself as a truly international city and an economic gateway to Australia for Asia, although Sydney still reigns as the nation’s international business capital. “This ranking reinforces Brisbane’s attractiveness to companies as an investment destination and strengthens its influence as a serious player in the Asia-Pacific region,” says Brisbane mayor Graham Quirk.
Tokyo’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics have been far from smooth. The furore around Zaha Hadid’s design for a new stadium led to the project’s cancellation and the Olympic logo by Kenjiro Sano had to be dropped after claims of plagiarism. The city has now held a competition for a new logo. Unlike the previous competition, which was only open to award-winning designers, this one was open to all and the response was immense. When the deadline passed this week, organisers had received 14,599 submissions. The selection committee will whittle down the entries to between 100 and 200 by the end of the year and a winner, who will receive ¥1m (€7,425) and an invite to the opening ceremony, will be announced in the spring.
Robert Cottrell, editor of The Browser, speaks with Monocle’s Daniel Giacopelli about the thorny issues facing the world of media and journalism: which business models work, will the paywall disappear and how will we read and profit from online writing in the years to come?
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