The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 18 August 2017

Business

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Take a break

Turkish officials hope to boost their tourism trade by ordering people to go on holiday.

Overseas arrivals into Turkey have plummeted in the wake of upheaval over the past couple of years. But the domestic trade has grown apace as Turks have sought to escape the daily grind of ever-changing politics by taking to the coast. The government is hoping to keep that momentum going through the last throes of summer by adding extra days to the national holiday – which should begin on 28 August and end on 3 September but will now begin on 26 August and end on 5 September – in a bid to fill the gap in trade normally taken by foreign tourists. Given this extension came with the president’s backing, there were few dissenting voices save for the economy minister, concerned about the lag on productivity. Even a few more days at the beach are ruled by decree.

Transport

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In a jam

A US city is considering congestion charging to curb traffic: but will its subway cope?

New York may join cities such as London, Stockholm and Singapore in instituting congestion charging on drivers. New York governor Andrew Cuomo recently endorsed the idea of charging small fees to road users during certain hours. This move would make New York one of the first US cities to use the scheme, which is widely seen as one of the only viable options to curb the use of cars in urban centres. Yet this isn’t the first time New York has flirted with the idea of congestion charges. In 2008, then-mayor Michael Bloomberg tested a similar programme, which faltered due to a lack of public transport. Almost a decade later, alternatives are poised to be a hiccup once again – with the city’s subway performance at a record low, what can commuters use besides their cars?

Quality of life

Image: Alamy

Attention to detail

A Swiss magazine has taken it upon itself to rank 924 Swiss neighbourhoods for liveability – we wouldn’t expect anything less.

While some pour over a new global liveability city index, the Swiss – in suitably Swiss fashion – appear to be more interested in pinpointing specifically which of their neighbourhoods enjoy the highest quality of life. Blessed by a bright summer and economic prosperity, the Swiss have had a pretty good year but those who have had it best, apparently, live in the quaint town of Rüschlikon. Sitting on the shores of Lake Zürich, its citizens enjoy nature and high-quality schooling in a spot favoured by business leaders. The ranking was determined by Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche, which compared 924 areas, looking at 50 different factors ranging from quality of housing stock to cultural offerings. While the Swiss can seem a little inward-looking sometimes, they can’t be accused of not knowing how to enjoy life, hence the country’s consistently high ranking in Monocle’s Quality of Life surveys.

Art

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State of the art

The Chinese market may be slowing but it’s still ahead of everyone else.

It was all looking so good for the Chinese art market back in 2011 when its sales peaked around the globe. Since then it’s been dipping steadily – although not as steeply as the rest of the world. Part of the issue is that there’s simply less demand: auction sales totalled $6.7bn (€5.7bn) worldwide in 2016, down 5 per cent on the previous year. At the same time, it seems that Chinese buyers have eyes bigger than their bellies because around half of purchases weren’t actually paid for last year. That said, we don’t think it’s time to write off China any time yet: in 2016 the nation still cashed in more money for art and antiques than any other in the world.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

The Netherlands: land reclamation

The Urbanist

The hardest part of land reclamation isn’t getting the land but holding it – and preventing the waters from clawing it back. The Netherlands has been doing this for almost 1,000 years and is now taking advantage of its expertise to not just shore up its own reclaimed land but also sell that knowledge to others.

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