The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 6 June 2016

Image: Lin Li-Han

It takes two

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive party is setting out an aggressive agenda for the rest of the year. Making the most of its historical control of both the Legislative Yuan and the presidency, the new administration has announced a priority list of 21 wide-ranging bills, including a plan for a 40-hour five-day working week for all workers, not just civil servants. But as the DPP rolls back on some of the last government’s initiatives, one casualty of the reforms will be a plan to make it easier for foreign professionals to obtain work permits. Taiwan is seeking to lessen its economic dependence on China by deepening relations with the likes of Japan and the US. But for this to happen the door needs to open both ways.

Image: Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Paper chase

The past decade has been tough on big bookshop chains in North America: Borders closed down in 2011 and Barnes & Nobles’ share value dipped 25 per cent last year. However, things seem to be improving for Canada’s biggest bookshop Indigo, thanks in large part to CEO Heather Reisman, who has been shaking things up by investing in the physical environment of her shops and diversifying their offerings. Volumes of both merchandise and books are up this quarter and the company recently launched a new flagship concept in Toronto shopping centre Sherway Gardens. Tune in to Reisman’s discussion on the future of bookstores with our editor in chief Tyler Brûlé and editor Andrew Tuck on the latest episode of The Stack.

Image: Akio Kon/Getty Images

Working it out

Fukuoka is Japan’s fifth-largest city and its fastest-growing metropolis. Between now and 2024, 30 new office buildings are expected to be built in the Tenjin central commercial district as the city’s building boom shifts into gear. The redevelopment of the downtown area is being led by mayor Soichiro Takashima, who has relaxed property restrictions. And while there are no plans for skyscrapers – the airport is too close – the city’s deregulatory measures will encourage developers to combine smaller plots and add more floor space. That should help solve the city’s office-space shortage, improve what’s on offer and reel in the big businesses that have shown interest in moving their operations to the city.

Image: Leonardo Finotti

Full Marx

New York’s Jewish Museum is showcasing the work of Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, on view until September. During his prolific 60-year career, Burle Marx designed more than 2,000 gardens across the globe, discovering about 50 plant species in the process. But the impact on his home turf is particularly notable: his work in the 1930s embraced Brazilian modernism with abstraction, fluidity and native plants, moving away from the norm of European designs. The exhibition will be making its rounds globally, travelling to Berlin as well as the Museu de Arte do Rio in Rio de Janeiro, where Burle Marx’s work can also be seen in situ on the pavements near Copacabana Beach.

From Monocle 24

Solla Eiríksdóttir

The pioneer of the Icelandic raw-food movement on her favourite recipes and how Reykjavik’s food scene has reinvented itself

From Monocle Films

Boom and gloom

Kashgar may look like just another Chinese boomtown but the city is riven with ethnic tensions. Monocle Films visits a frontier where tradition is clashing with change.

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