Friday 21 October 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 21/10/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: A Healthier Michigan

Cream of the crop

Three years after Detroit declared bankruptcy the US city is still trying to regain its footing but one area in which it’s thriving is urban farming. There are a whopping 1,400 farms and community gardens in the sprawling city, many of which have taken over blighted and neglected spaces. One such project is Afterhouse, which has gone as far as to develop a prototype farm in an abandoned home, transforming its structure into a greenhouse that will be able to sustain fresh produce even throughout the harsh winters. With an ongoing blight-eradication plan set to demolish some 5,000 homes, the hope is that Afterhouse will serve as an alternative to the costly process of tearing down buildings.

Image: André Saraiva Viúva Lamego

Out on the tiles

“I spent two years painting more than 50,000 ceramic tiles and today I’m excited to see them all come together on the wall – it’s like finishing the world’s biggest puzzle,” says artist André Saraiva, who today reveals his monumental 9,300 sq m wall of tiles in the Botto Machado garden, adjacent to the Feira da Ladra flea market in Lisbon. Commissioned by the Portuguese capital’s council and the Museu do Design e da Moda, this permanent mural mirrors the local artist’s interpretation of the city of Lisbon in an optimistic, colourful and poetic manner. For a couple of years Saraiva spent long hours at the renowned Portuguese ceramic tile factory Viúva Lamego, where the tiles for his creation were made under his artistic direction. This installation is not only a gesture of support for public art but also for tradition and creativity in Saraiva’s home country.

Image: Alamy

Taking its toll

Unwilling to miss out on Japan’s extraordinary tourism boom, the 
operator of Tokyo’s network of toll expressways – known in Japanese as 
Shutoko – has announced that it too is making a pitch for overseas 
visitors. In a bid to encourage more tourists and tourist buses to use
 its roads, the Metropolitan Expressway Company will introduce 
multilingual tablet devices at seven of its biggest service areas
 around Tokyo, including Yoyogi and Heiwajima, to help with 
everything from road navigation to pointing out the best vantage
 points for seeing sights such as Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge. As regular users know, Shutoko’s elevated expressways offer great 
views of the city; visitors will also be advised where to go for the 
best nightscapes and even souvenirs are in the pipeline. Metropolitan Expressway says that with the overall expansion of the 
road system, an increase in leisure traffic shouldn’t make the
 expressways congested for regular users.

Image: TCDC

Brand Thailand

The Royal Thai Government is ushering in a national creative revolution as part of Thailand’s 20-year economic strategy Thailand 4.0. Earlier this week the plan’s headline event kicked off in Bangkok. Creative Thailand, which ends on Sunday, brings together the brightest creative thinkers from around the world to brainstorm design-led strategies to promote the nation's brand internationally. A few days in and already the event has given birth to numerous innovative solutions for budding entrepreneurs, addressing timely issues such as the country’s ageing population and how it affects consumer preferences. From today until the end of the weekend, talks and discussions will mull over further business strategies to help start-ups gain ground. If this event is any indication, Thailand is headed for exciting times.

Image: Alamy

Madrid’s public-toilet dilemma

With just 25 public toilets in a city with a population of more than five million, Madrid has long suffered when it comes to locating a good loo. So how has the city survived for so long?

Made in London

Globes, spoons and weaving: Monocle Films drops in on three makers helping to reinvigorate the UK capital’s heartbeat.


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