The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 25 October 2017

Society

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Rhythm of the night

As cities worry about social cohesion, one man believes the answer can be found on the dancefloor.

Could tearing it up on the dancefloor be the secret to improved social cohesion in our cities? Mirik Milan is the well-regarded night mayor of Amsterdam and he certainly seems to think so. Monocle caught up with Milan – a former speaker at our Quality of Life Conference – at the CityLab event in Paris, where city makers gathered at the start of this week to debate everything from technology to terrorism. And Milan was clear about his beat’s potential: “Nightlife can create more socially cohesive cities – in club culture and festivals, people with a common interest in a band engage with each other in an open way. The basic element of nightlife is equality.” Milan is now a key influencer on the urbanism circuit and he also told us that he has been helping with New York’s plans for the creation of its very own night mayor. Mayor Bill de Blasio clearly knows the value of busting some moves.

Transport

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Now leaving the station?

At last everyone is getting on board with the idea that Canada needs a high-speed rail network.

Canada’s desire to construct its first high-speed rail network has edged closer to fruition with the announcement that an advisory board has been established to explore the project’s viability. The proposed route, along the Toronto-Windsor corridor, would connect Canada’s largest city with Kitchener – a thriving university town – as well as Waterloo and Windsor, both blossoming technology centres. The hope is that the new network, which will be built along a mixture of existing and newly built railway lines and will incorporate new, full-service railway stations that are destinations in themselves (similar to Switzerland’s SBB and Japan’s JR), will slice journey times in half from four hours to just over two. The move is a welcome sign that provincial and federal politicians recognise that top-flight transport infrastructure is crucial to keeping the economies in these three burgeoning urban centres moving apace.

Affairs

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Farewell to the king

With Thailand’s year of mourning almost over, political observers are beginning to look to the future.

Bangkok grinds to a halt today as bars, restaurants and malls close to honour the cremation of the late Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej, ending Thailand’s year-long period of mourning. A programme of suitably resplendent final rites – not to mention a $30m (€26m) funeral pyre – will run until 29 October. Yet as Thais bid farewell to their longest-reigning monarch, pundits are already looking towards the nation’s political future. The first chance to do so will be the coronation of the heir to the throne before the end of the year; then there will be analysis of how his influence will affect next year’s general election, which should see Thailand’s long-awaited return to democracy. The new king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, endorsed Thailand’s military-backed constitution earlier this year.

Architecture

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Delicate touch

Sir David Adjaye’s latest project cements his reputation as the architect for sensitive projects.

Leading architect David Adjaye (pictured) has been selected to design a new Holocaust memorial and learning centre in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to London’s Houses of Parliament. Together with architect Ron Arad, Adjaye will lead a design team selected by a panel of judges that included London’s mayor Sadiq Khan. The team will create a layer-like subterranean visitor centre that’s as much a piece of public space as a memorial. Adjaye is quickly becoming a prime architect for the delicate task of reflecting a troubled past or a sensitive present through architecture: his past projects include the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

From Monocle Films

Future of travel

We find out how the world of mobility is changing and what challenges lay ahead for car-sharing, single-pilot planes and slow travel.

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