The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 28 October 2016

Image: Getty Images

Road to Rio

Brazil’s had a rough ride lately. Between the nation’s economic woes and its political turmoil, positive headlines have been few and far between. So in an effort to encourage foreign visitors, not to mention investment, the government is now considering waiving tourist-visa fees for those visiting from Japan, the US, Canada and Australia. The proposal, from Brazil’s tourism minister Marx Beltrão, would see an extension of the waiver offered to visitors from these countries during this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, which were Brazil’s one bright spot during a tumultuous year. If the proposal is approved and proves successful in bumping up the number of tourists, it could be offered to other countries as well, including China’s 120 million travellers.

Image: Otto

Cheers!

The future has arrived: an autonomous truck has made its first commercial shipment in the US – of Budweiser beer. The undertaking is the result of a collaboration between Uber Technologies and AB InBev. This week Otto (the San Francisco-based business Uber acquired this summer) sent out an 18-wheeler Volvo fitted out with sensors and cameras to drive 50,000 cans of beer from Loveland, Colorado to Colorado Springs, with a police escort to keep it in check. The journey went smoothly and AB InBev has reportedly said that it could save €45m a year in the US alone with the use of self-driving trucks thanks to reduced fuel costs and a tighter delivery schedule, even if it means having a driver in the back to keep an eye on the road.

Image: Nicolas De Corte/Alamy

In the money

Fashion designers know they’ve made it after their first show at a European fashion week; writers after they clinch their first big book deal. But an ambitious neighbourhood? This week the South African edition of Monopoly released its line-up and Maboneng, a regeneration success story in Johannesburg’s long-blighted CBD, has been given a square among the yellows. It’s quite a statement: Maboneng was transformed from a dilapidated and deserted neighbourhood into a mixed-use retail and residential centre, a process powered initially by artist studios. This has had a ripple effect across Johannesburg’s downtown where fresh-faced outposts such as Joziburg Lane are also popping up. Maboneng proves that municipal rewiring can’t always match the transformational power of independent retail, characterful residents and artist-friendly rents.

Image: Hayden Phipps

Consumer culture

Manhattan art gallery Chamber, whose exclusive focus is on rare, limited and one-off works, opens its third annual collection this week with Just What is It. Inspired by Richard Hamilton’s 1956 collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? artist Matylda Krzykowski has collected 100 objects from various artists to create her own form of collage. The eclectic selection of objects revolves around the concept of living spaces and encompasses sculptures, surrealist lighting, paintings and architectural templates by artists such as Trix and Robert Haussmann, Cyril Porchet and Studio Swine.

From Monocle 24

Image: Chi King

Singapore: Otters

Schemes in Singapore such as the reclaiming and cleaning of canals have had an unexpected upshot for the city-state: the reappearance of its native otters. We go for a walk with Dr Adrian Loo, botanist and director of the Otter Working Group.

From Monocle Films

What is quality of life?

How do we create cities that deliver quality of life for everyone? That can pull in global talent but also take care of locals? Places that are good for a fun night out and also running a new enterprise; that have culture and architecture on the right scale? These were the challenges at the heart of Monocle's first Quality of Life Conference in Lisbon. This film shares the questions that we all need to answer.

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