The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 8 June 2016

Image: Paul Thompson/Getty Images

Share and share alike

Last month Austin residents upheld a city ordinance requiring drivers from ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft to have background checks, which prompted both companies to peel out of the city. However, less than a month later, the Texas state capital doesn’t seem to have been left in the lurch. A non-profit ride-sharing service called RideAustin will start rolling out this month and will not only pay for drivers to obtain the required fingerprint background checks – a requirement that was prompted when the city observed an increase in reported sexual assaults connected to ride-share drivers – but also invest profits back into the city and into charities. RideAustin will launch with downtown and airport services, and aims to offer citywide coverage by December.

Image: Trevor Mogg/Alamy

Shops and Cantopop

Retail isn’t hurting in Hong Kong despite the luxury-brand cool-off. A new report on global retail by property consultancy CBRE shows that 73 international brands made their debut in the city last year, beating Asian rivals Singapore and Tokyo into first place. Falling rents and more flexible landlords make now a good time to snap up shop space in the city. However, newcomers should tread carefully: Lancôme, which has had a presence in China since 1993, raised eyebrows this week when it hired pro-democracy Cantopop star Denise Ho for a promotional gig in HK then subsequently cancelled the performance following criticism from a Chinese tabloid. Navigating local tastes – not to mention politics – is an increasingly tricky business.

Livin’ on a prairie

The Canadian prairies are not often associated with cutting-edge design but the biannual Prairie Design Awards forces us to reconsider. This month the architecture associations of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have granted awards of excellence to four of the 101 submissions, which range from museums to courthouses and libraries. The highest honours were bestowed upon the Philip J Currie Dinosaur Museum (pictured), Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre, John Fry Sports Park Pavilion and the Memorial Drive Landscape of Memory: Pathway Remediation. Besides sharing the same province of Alberta, these structures effortlessly straddle functionality and a modern aesthetic.

Image: Mark Clifton

Border order

The phrase “altered state” is set to take on a whole new meaning for a handful of North Carolina and South Carolina residents. Due to a boundary-drawing error between the states back in 1735, a chunk of land was mistakenly designated as part of South Carolina when it really belongs to its northerly neighbour. Two decades ago the Carolinas agreed to redraw the boundary and this year they’re actually doing so, with bills currently working their way through each state’s legislature. However, this poses a problem for the 19 homes that will soon find themselves in a different state: as property taxes and access to health services and schools differ across the US, residents will be facing a lot more than just a change of address.

From Monocle 24

Image: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Paolo Sorrentino

Recorded at Rome’s Cinecittà film studios, this special edition of The Cinema Show takes in the rich history of Italy’s film industry. We speak to director Paolo Sorrentino about The Great Beauty, Youth and how food and film have shaped his view of his home city.

From Monocle Films

On the move

From bus to bike to car, the way we get around is evolving in surprising ways. But who are the innovators developing the networks of the future? Monocle Films set up a global-mobility audit at the Monocle Quality of Life Conference in Vienna to find out.

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