Is it significant that Turkey has lifted the ban on women in the military wearing headscarves? Yes – but for very subtle reasons. In one sense it ruptures the longstanding fierce secularism that has underpinned the armed forces since Ataturk’s Republic was founded; in another sense its swift implementation offers some insight into the kind of rule-by-decree that Turkey can expect if the constitutional referendum goes in the ruling party’s favour come April. But what’s more significant about all this is the timing. Just as some of the senior military who were involved in last year’s failed coup go to trial, a shift like this has an almost theatrical impact. It’s a message from government that the distance between state and army is no more. Yet one can’t help feel that in Turkey’s current situation there are more pressing decisions to be made.
Becoming a Chinese citizen isn’t easy but gaining residency is becoming more so. Last year more than 1,500 foreigners were granted permanent residency in the country, representing a 163 per cent year-on-year increase since China launched its green-card system in 2004. Until recently the nation only issued a few hundred green cards every year but now it’s opening its borders to foreign talent (mainly investors and celebrities) to raise its global profile and boost its economy. At the same time, more residency restrictions have been introduced since 2013 – when China overhauled its national immigration policy – and its green-card programme remains limited: only 7,400 foreigners have thus far been granted permanent residency, compared to the more than one million given green cards in a single year in the US. It’s interesting to see China increase its programme just as other nations around the world are closing their borders but there’s still a long way to go: a more liberal immigration policy would benefit China’s economy in the long run.
The LVMH prize for young fashion designers is picking up global momentum: its fourth edition attracted 1,200 candidates from 90 countries. “LVMH felt a duty to create a prize that rewards young designers but above all nurtures tomorrow’s talent,” says Louis Vuitton’s executive vice-president Delphine Arnault, who announced the shortlist just as Milan Fashion Week is heating up. The selected 21 designers will showcase their work in front of a jury of heavyweights (including Maria Grazia Chiuri and Karl Lagerfeld) next week and the prize will be awarded at the Fondation Louis Vuitton on 16 June. We’re keeping our eyes on French designer Antonin Tron, Maggie Hewitt from New Zealand and Martine Rose from the UK.
At Monocle we’re not the only ones who have taken a shine to print. Los Angeles design firm Norma is paying homage to the humble book at the Los Angeles Art Book Fair, which runs until 26 February at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The multidisciplinary company has commissioned a series of contemporary bookends as part of a project called “In support of books”, with efforts by designers from the US, UK and Denmark. “Any piece of tangible ephemera associated with books and publications helps to literally and figuratively support our emotional connection to those items,” says Norma’s co-founder Benjamin Critton. “And thus perhaps our collective commitment to their longevity.” Look out for everything from a conical pyramid to a pair of buttock supports.
In this special live episode of ‘The Urbanist’, Monocle editor Andrew Tuck hands over the floor to Arne Olsson, managing director of Folkhem; Martin Barry, founder of Resite; Elizabeth Reynolds, director of Urben; and Nick Rees, architectural director of The Collective, who will discuss the future of the city.
Want more stories like these in your inbox?
Sign up to Monocle’s email newsletters to stay on top of news and opinion, plus the latest from the magazine, radio, film and shop.