The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 23 September 2016

Image: AGO

Better together

This week a group of mayors, designers, urban-planners and other thinkers held court at the inaugural Six Degrees Citizen Space conference at the Art Gallery of Ontario to spark ideas on how to make the world more inclusive. The summit – which saw these movers and shakers discuss a range of issues such as sustainable prosperity and how to manage diversity – was organised by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, which was founded by former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson and her husband, author John Ralston Saul. “You can’t deal with diversity unless culture, politics, administration and architecture are all part of it,” says Saul of the attendant list that included deputy mayor of the Hague Rabin Baldewsingh and Mohamed Fahmy, the former Al Jazeera journalist who was imprisoned in Egypt in 2013. “It’s a complete mix,” says Saul, “that’s how the world works.”

Image: Bondi Harvest

Helping hand

Although the economy in Los Angeles has been on the up, the city is not known as a friendly spot to start a business. A mass of red tape often stands in the way of entrepreneurs but that’s where the newly launched LA Business Portal comes in. The open-source online platform, created by LA mayor Eric Garcetti’s innovation team with a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, was designed as a roadmap to setting up and growing a business, helping entrepreneurs with such things as registering their company, scouting locations and accessing capital. It was modelled after San Francisco’s SF Business Portal and is not only good news for LA but also for other cities – it was designed to be replicated beyond the borders of California.

Image: Sophia Spring

Open for business

It’s been a particularly sunny summer for Cyprus: arrivals in August were the best on record and figures so far suggest an extra 500,000 sunseekers will land this year. Some of the boost is likely down to the run-off from Turkey’s troubled market but Cyprus is building on its potential. There is a planned refresh of infrastructure across the island and more winter flights will also help it become a year-round destination. The push is being felt in downtown Nicosia and the government has put out an international call for proposals from architecture firms for a new €50m archaeological museum. It’s the sort of centrepiece the republic needs after years of reticence since the financial crisis and a fitting symbol as it tries to diversify its market from the bucket-and-spade trade.

Image: Marc Tan

Made in Singapore

As Singapore, which is synonymous with big business, seeks to grow its creative industries, the demand for designers, web developers and data scientists is on the up. “That’s a challenge that we want to solve,” says Aziza Sheerin, regional director of the global design and technology college General Assembly. This evening she will be kicking off a week-long programme called “Made in Singapore” at the nation’s 200-year-old former parliament building, The Arts House. “It’s part of our community-building efforts to get more Singaporeans excited and interested in entrepreneurship,” she says. The college has outposts in cities around the world, from London to Melbourne, and works with business communities to inspire more people to enter the start-up sector. Not to miss at the inaugural event are appearances by Colin Chen, co-founder of the craftsmen collective The Refinery and Lim Chee Meng of Hope Technik, the business that’s equipped the city with its familiar Red Rhino fire trucks.

From Monocle 24

Image: MM

Cairo: a cycle-friendly city

A city of some nine million residents, Cairo is used to heavy traffic. The solution to the smoggy, clogged roads? A growing number of people are getting on their bikes.

From Monocle Films

Class acts

In the poor south side of Bogotá many children don’t have access to a good education. Monocle Films meets two people who are trying to improve things: one is an architect who designs school buildings that pupils and their communities can be proud of; the other is a rubbish-truck driver who has collected thousands of discarded books and opened a library and community centre in his home.

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