The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 19 October 2016

Image: Rick Scuteri/PA Images

Seconds out, round three

The third and final debate in the US presidential race takes place tonight, seeing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump facing off at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Since the first televised debate in September, Trump’s standing in the polls has plummeted – The New York Times forecasts that Clinton has a 91 per cent chance of winning – as his campaign has been hit by scandal after scandal. Yet since the second debate on 9 October, WikiLeaks has released even more hacked emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman, which many detractors claim put the Democratic nominee in an unfavourable light. Both candidates are surely keen to put their own spin on their standing before the 8 November election. Yet voters aren’t likely to break any records tuning in to see them do so: the last debate was watched by 66.5 million people, down from the record-breaking 84 million who witnessed the first one, and tonight’s audience is expected to be even smaller.

Image: Getty Images

Civic reception

A once-in-a-generation UN conference is not going to solve the myriad challenges faced by cities around the world but the UN Habitat III, which is currently taking place in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, will at least try. More than 40,000 delegates – including around 200 city mayors – will be discussing the New Urban Agenda, a 23-page document that hopes to encourage sustainable development in cities across the world. Much of the agenda focuses on issues that have traditionally been the responsibility of national governments, from ending extreme poverty to dealing with climate change. Their uncontroversial presence in the Quito discussions goes to show just how important cities – and their leaders – have become.

Image: Andy Clark/Alamy

Starring role

Film and TV production in Canada’s major cities is booming. From Toronto and Calgary to Montréal and the Canadian Arctic, Canada’s landscapes and urban centres are increasingly the backdrops to some of the biggest productions in TV and film. Vancouver, in response to this growing sector in its economy – some 20,000 people are employed by the industry in British Columbia – has announced the appointment of its first film commissioner, David Shepheard, formerly of Film London. His to-do list when he arrives in Vancouver will include boosting the city’s film infrastructure while navigating shifts in provincial politics and tax laws. “It’s about the quality of the crews. It’s about the infrastructure. It’s about the services that you get for the money that you spend. It’s about so much more and I think that Vancouver has this as well,” Shepheard told the Canadian press on Monday.

Image: Lit Ma

Good living

The quality of housing in Hong Kong has always been a contentious issue. In light of debates on inadequate land supply and poor public-housing policy, UK property group Grosvenor decided to study the quality of life across the city’s neighbourhoods. The survey found that 72 per cent of Hong Kong’s residents are satisfied with their respective neighbourhoods, where transport and tranquillity are top priorities; other key factors are the abundance of green and safe spaces, as well as access to shops. This shows that what a neighbourhood really needs is to enable small businesses to thrive and citizens to feel kaifong – a Cantonese word adopted by the Oxford dictionary that defines an association promoting a heartfelt sense of community. The next white paper to be carried out will focus on Tokyo next year and Shanghai in 2018.

From Monocle 24

Section D Live

This week we bring you a very special edition of Section D recorded live from Midori House in London’s Marylebone. Typographer and designer Erik Spiekermann, Disegno founder and V&A curator Johanna Agerman Ross and architecture critic Peter Murray join host Josh Fehnert to reflect on their careers, consider London’s status as a design city and mull over that age-old question: what is good design?

From Monocle Films

Urban growth: Solitair tree nursery

Cities are often seen as the flipside of nature: synthetic, sleek and sometimes impersonal. For places that pine after being greener, the Solitair tree nursery provides a blueprint. Monocle Films travelled to the Belgian nursery to discover the value of investing in the future.

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