London will not be declaring independence, the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan joked yesterday. But make no mistake, he plans to do what he can to ensure the UK’s capital remains an international city. While the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU, London voted 60 to 40 in favour of staying. In the days since the vote Khan has called for the UK to stay in the single market and – unlike many other senior politicians – has publicly praised EU nationals living and working in London. He has also spoken out strongly against the wave of racial abuse and attacks that the Leave vote has unleashed. Like first minister Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland – another Remain stronghold – Khan is showing that pro-Europeans do not have to sit back and let others speak on behalf of their nation.
London’s future as Europe’s financial centre in the wake of last week’s Brexit vote is under discussion. But those who say that London need not worry and that the warnings of a diminished role in the international financial-services sector are overblown may want to look to Montréal. Once the wealthiest of Canada’s cities, Montréal’s financial-services sector was ultimately unravelled by a popular vote. In 1995 every major bank was headquartered there. But a referendum that year on sovereignty in Quebec – in which 50.5 per cent of voters ultimately chose to stay a part of Canada – and the political uncertainty that followed prompted an exodus of larger businesses. Toronto was the beneficiary and is now the biggest financial centre in the country. To hear a special report on Montréal’s demise as a major financial hub, tune in to tonight’s edition of The Monocle Daily on Monocle 24 at 22.00 UK time.
As Hong Kong prepares to celebrate the anniversary of its 1997 handover to China, the city’s annual street protest is also likely to see fireworks. Detained bookseller Lam Wing-Kee (pictured), who recently returned to the city after eight months in Chinese custody, is leading the 1 July march from Victoria Park to the government headquarters in Admiralty. Lam’s account of his ordeal has gripped Hong Kong and organisers of Friday’s march are expecting a high turnout. Attendance fell last year after the growing Hong Kong independence movement split pro-democracy support. This year’s march is the last before CY Leung’s current term as chief executive comes to an end, adding extra significance to the traditional call for him to step down. Leung confirmed this week that he has not ruled out standing again.
Sweden’s commitment to become fossil-fuel free by 2030 continues apace. The county’s most recent move is the test launch of an electric-transport road. A 2km stretch on the E16 transnational highway between Kungsgården and Sandviken, north of Stockholm, now features electric lines suspended five metres above the pavement; trucks travelling on the road operate in much the same way as a light-rail system, powered by cables that transfer electricity to the vehicles’ hybrid engines. The test, which will last until 2018, sees Sweden become one of the first countries to trial electric power on heavy-transport routes. The country hopes that these roads will not only help Sweden “achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions”, says Lena Erixon, director general of Trafikverket, the country’s transport administration, but that they will also be easily integrated into its existing road infrastructure.
Architecture may seem like a discipline preoccupied with sheltering us from the elements but the built environment could learn a few lessons from the natural world. We speak to two architects who are leading the charge to find out how the industry is taking inspiration from nature.
There is more to Honolulu than aloha shirts and picture-postcard images of hula girls: our new travel guide reveals a dynamic urban centre packed with independent retailers, modernist architecture and a shave-ice stand or two. Published by Gestalten, it is available now at The Monocle Shop.
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