Friday 22 September 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 22/9/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Heath Cajandig


Waking up

New York mayor Bill de Blasio likes to hang out with the cool kids of Brooklyn, which is why he found himself in Bushwick this week to sign a bill formally creating the Office of Nightlife. The move is clearly inspired by similar models in Europe, most notably London and Amsterdam, aimed at maximising the economic potential of the bar and club scene. The city that never sleeps may be liberal – and its opening hours generous – but even New York could use a boost from city hall. At the top of De Blasio and the new office’s agenda will be repealing the Cabaret Law, a city rule that requires a dancing permit for venues selling food and drink, which in the past has been used to shut down clubs and dance halls in marginalised communities.

Image: Getty Images


Taken for a ride

It isn’t easy being a taxi driver in Dubai: an average shift can last 12 hours or more (in 2016 the government-owned taxi company racked up a whopping 94 million kilometres on the dashboard). But now its cabbies face a new challenge: possible job extinction. The emirate has just received a delivery of 50 Tesla electric cars with the long-view that these Model S Sedans and Model X SUVs, plus an additional 150 cars to come, will be the first step towards operating a fleet of fully self-driving cabs. Currently the vehicles are equipped with Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist software – not quite the hands-off service promised in the future but not so far off.

Image: Piotr Niepsuj


London calling

Despite Brexit looming large, London’s importance as a creative destination has not diminished, as evidenced by the international brands arriving en masse for the annual London Design Festival. The event’s Designjunction fair, which opened yesterday, gives small international companies an opportunity to get their wares in front of architects and interior designers alike. Meanwhile, Italy’s luxury furniture giant B&B Italia has made an even bolder commitment to the city, with its newly renovated London showroom. “London is London,” says company head Giorgio Busnelli. “Its charm and vitality will remain.” Whether design companies will remain as loyal to the city as the economic implications of Brexit reveal themselves, however, is a question yet to be answered.

Image: Getty Images


High ideals

Toronto has unveiled plans to establish its own World Trade Centre, joining cities such as Chicago, Hong Kong and, of course, New York in providing a hub for international trade. “This is such an important initiative to drive this city forward,” Toronto mayor John Tory told dignitaries at the launch on Wednesday night. The announcement comes at a buoyant time for Canada’s economy: it is the fastest-growing in the G7 and Toronto’s population is expected to grow by nearly half a million people in the next decade. “If Canada increased its current share of small and medium-sized businesses that export [to match that of other countries], it would mean an estimated CA$225bn [€153bn] in new export activity,” says Jan De Silva, president of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, which is behind the initiative. A competition has been launched to come up with a design for the building, with the hope that the result will be as recognisable a landmark for Toronto as similar hubs have become for their respective cities.

Image: Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design

Special: Jan Gehl

We meet the Danish architect and urban visionary to talk about the way forward for urbanism.


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