The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 27 June 2016

Weighty initiative

Chinese employees and school kids are used to mass-participation morning exercises but clearly some have been slacking off on the star jumps; as the economy grows, the country’s well-fed waistlines are expanding in the same direction. In response, Beijing has announced that local authorities will receive broader budgets to invest in sporting facilities and a target has been set to get 700 million people exercising at least once a week by 2020. The looming national health crisis is a strong driver of the plan but one eye will also be on president Xi Jinping’s goal of bringing sporting glory to China; the Rio Olympics in August may be a little too soon but watch out Tokyo 2020.

Image: Steven Joyce

Something to digest

The Centre for London’s publishing programme delivers handsome works of journalism with a twist: not only are they fun reads but they also come with wise policy suggestions. The centre has just published the latest in its London Essays series – in a large-format print magazine and online – on the meaty theme of food. Henry Dimbleby, founder of the healthy food chain Leon and backer of numerous food stall-cum-truck spaces, argues that London needs a great central retail food market; Monocle 24 regular Lisa Markwell looks at the hazards for a booming restaurant scene. Meanwhile, food campaigner Rosie Boycott insists that cities offer solutions for obesity. It all makes for a rare example of a high-minded organisation that knows how to break out and meet the people.

Understanding the logistics

Japan has spent most of the last seven decades since the Second World War reshaping its natural environment by erecting dams and bridges, diverting rivers and laying a fibre-optic cable network to better connect the nation. These infrastructure projects have brought convenience but the environmental costs are hard to ignore. The impact of roads, waterworks and other civil-engineering advancements are the focus of a new exhibition called Doboku (Civil Engineering) at 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo Midtown. Curated by architect Hiroshi Nishimura, the show – which runs until 25 September – relies on a mix of unusual photography, videos, diagrams and miniature models to shed light on the structures that people rely on daily but often take for granted.

Staying power

Turkey’s Mediterranean coast has a few popular all-inclusive oddities. There’s a hotel with a replica of Topkapi Palace and another with Moscow’s St Basil’s Cathedral (pictured) overlooking its pool, then there's the resort shaped like a Titanic-branded cruise liner that’s been mysteriously beached (and serves an international buffet). But many resorts on the Turkish Riviera are now struggling as Russian sanctions and Turkey’s turmoil slash occupancy. Basaran Ulusoy, president of the Turkish Travel Agencies Association, has said that the low-cost, package-oriented all-inclusive sector, which dominates in the south, needs to be phased out and replaced with a sector more amenable to wealthier travellers. Perhaps, but highlighting and supporting smaller, homelier hoteliers in this culturally rich region would be a simple start.

From Monocle 24

Chris Watson

Chris Watson is a founding member of influential Sheffield art-pop band Cabaret Voltaire but he’s also one of the most respected and in-demand sound recordists for natural-history film-making. His latest project is The Town Moor – A Portrait in Sound, which opened this week in The Gallery at Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema.

From Monocle Films

Istanbul design biennial

The second edition of the Istanbul Design Biennial distilled the city’s disparate cultural influences into a single powerful event. Monocle Films visited to discover the region's desire to rewrite its contemporary design manifesto.

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