The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 23 June 2017

Urbanism

Image: iStock

American werewolves in Paris

The French capital has issued a warning to ‘predatory’ businesses and is prepared to defend itself.

“Airbnb and Uber are predators. And they have to learn that they cannot possibly work in Paris unless they follow the rules.” That’s the strong opinion of the deputy mayor of Paris, Jean-Louis Missika, who was speaking to Monocle yesterday at the Invisible City conference organised by Resite in Prague. Missika is in town to explain how Paris has undergone a fundamental change in recent years as it works to create the world’s biggest “innovation campus”, encourages citizens to shape their neighbourhoods and pushes developers to be both daring and kind to the city. But when it comes to the sharing economy, he believes the “sharing” is happening between too few people – mostly wealthy investors buying apartments just to rent on Airbnb. So from September, strict laws will control the trade. And driverless cars? Missika says he wants legislation in place by 2020 to say that Paris will never allow private individuals to have them, only service providers. That’s sharing in his book. For more on the Resite conference listen to The Urbanist.

Defence

Image: Getty Images

Unwanted attention

The point of camouflage is to blend in: a fact that the US Department of Defense should really be up to speed with.

When it comes to armed forces and camouflage you can’t really afford to get the pattern wrong – it tends to defeat the whole purpose. But according to a report published this week, the US Department of Defense did just that in Afghanistan. Since 2008 it has ordered 1.4 million uniforms for the Afghan National Army in a colour sequence suited to camouflage soldiers in forest surroundings. The problem? Only about 2 per cent of Afghanistan is actually made up of forest. What’s more, the misguided design choice cost US taxpayers an extra $28m (€25m), according to the report, because it used a proprietary pattern that cost more than other camouflage patterns.

Technology

Image: Marvin Zilm

Change of direction

A German firm has unveiled a lift that will allow city-planners to think outside the box.

A new lift technology that could reshape the face of modern cities launched yesterday in the sleepy town of Rottweil on the fringes of Germany’s Black Forest. A tower, just a bit shorter than Eiffel’s in Paris, has risen from the green landscape here; it’s been pioneered by Germany’s Thyssenkrupp as a test site for Multi, a lift that can navigate a building in a multidirectional manner – moving horizontally as well as vertically. “After 160 years of elevator history, we really have a revolutionary system, without ropes,” says Thomas Ehrl, head of Thyssenkrupp Elevator Innovation. Multi’s first implementation will be in a new Bjarke Ingels-designed mixed-use building in Berlin by Dutch property developers OVG. With an estimated two billion people expected to move into cities over the next 20 years, Multi’s ability to adapt to myriad building designs will give governments further creative freedom when planning more-sustainable cities and enable them to think beyond simply building up.

Retail

Floor-fillers

Known for pushing new designers, Paris’s Colette shop is now pushing industry boundaries too.

Parisian shop Colette is heading in a new direction. Though the 20-year-old concept store is mostly known as the place to find a range of young and edgy designers, the shop is now dedicating its entire second floor to a single fashion house for a month at a time. Each installation will include custom-made pieces for Colette. For the first instalment, which began this week to coincide with men’s fashion week, Balenciaga has taken over the entire space. Sacai, Thom Browne, Chanel and Saint Laurent will follow. “We wanted to break the routine and have a new experience,” says creative director Sarah Andelman. “We will keep our young designers on the first floor of course, and will still offer them our windows, but we felt it was also important for the big brands to try new experiences – and we are pushing them to try new things.”

From Monocle 24

Image: Getty Images

Who are Mali’s Islamists?

The Foreign Desk Explainer

After Sunday’s attack on a tourist resort just outside Bamako, Andrew Mueller asks who are Mali’s Islamists and what do they want?

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