Friday 9 September 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 9/9/2016

The Monocle Minute

City charge

Are mayors better prepared for dealing with global challenges than presidents? Perhaps. “Cities work together extremely well,” says Benjamin Barber, founder of the Global Parliament of Mayors. “They’re connected to the world – open not closed. Maybe the time has come to rely more on cities to deal with the problems we face.” This weekend will see the launch of Barber’s organisation, which aims to help cities work together in finding solutions to topical issues ranging from security to sustainability. More than 70 leaders will meet in The Hague for three days of debate. Fully aware that he may sound a touch hubristic, Barber is clear about the overall goal: “This is the UN in 1945. This is not a conference, this is the founding of a new global governance body for, by and of cities.”

Image: Getty Images

Time in Turkey

Turkey is exercising its right to push radical new rulings through parliament under its current state of emergency: this week prime minister Binali Yildirim decreed that Turkey has “abolished the winter-summer time difference” altogether. Turks were due to roll their clocks back an hour on 30 October and will instead remain an hour ahead even as the long winter nights draw in. While the new decree will likely mean fewer missed dentist appointments, some Turks have bemoaned the change as making it harder to watch midnight European football matches. Turkey has a long history of fiddling with citizens’ notions of time: after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire clock towers were erected en masse to help the new republic’s timekeeping chime with Europe. Now, perhaps presciently, the exact reverse is taking place.

Image: Tomoyo Nakamura

Our house

Considering that 66 per cent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050 and that affordable housing is already a rarity, municipalities must think of creative ways to increase its availability. As part of this year’s 12th Helsinki Design Week, which ends on Sunday, students of the Aalto University Wood Program created a prefabricated wooden home called Kokoon in response to the temporary housing shortage in Finland, which is particularly affecting asylum seekers and students. On Wednesday several dozen people gathered to discuss the minimalist structure, showcased in the courtyard overlooking the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture. “Since Kokoon is both a built project and a proposition it’s a very concrete way to promote a discussion about temporary housing in urban areas today,” says Philip Tidwell of the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. “This is not only a question about architecture but a question of community, atmosphere and belonging.”

Image: Tomoyasu Masuda

Small gains

Many entrepreneurs in Ontario have started their own production facilities distilling a whole range of alcohols, from artisanal gin and small-batch whiskies to craft beers. There’s no sign that the trend will be fizzling out any time soon – sales surged 64 per cent in the latest fiscal year despite stringent legislation and taxes – and the CA$3.7m (€2.5m) industry does more than cool people down in the sweltering summer heat. The success of the 24 or so micro-distilleries, including award-winning Niagara Wine Country-based Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, is tangible proof that the market for local independent businesses is growing. To further help the cause of this expanding sector the 2016 Ontario Budget has laid out plans to reduce regulatory barriers and improve support for burgeoning distillers.

Rio de Janeiro: Ilha de Paquetá

Rio de Janeiro is a huge metropolitan area with a population of more than 11 million but just off the coast of the city centre sits a quiet and secluded island that feels like a paradise miles away from any kind of urban metropolis. Monocle’s Rio correspondent Sheena Rossiter samples the serenity of Ilha de Paquetá or Paquetá Island.

Drive and ambition

Italy’s motor city has long suffered from being painted with a very grey brush. However, as Monocle Films found out, it is Turin’s industrial heritage that is providing the inspiration and technical expertise to spur on a booming community of designers. We meet the creative minds who are playing on the city’s strengths to create a new image for Piedmont’s capital.


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