Monday. 10/10/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Shutterstock

Opinion / Hannah Lucinda Smith

Rise and shine

As populism continues to spread across Europe, countries on the continent’s fringes could offer a blueprint for how to fight back. In Turkey, Hungary and several Balkan states, opposition blocs have, against the odds, won local elections in major cities in recent years. Now they’re using those successes as a springboard to national victory.

In this month’s elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Social Democrat Denis Becirovic (pictured) won the Bosniak seat in the country’s tripartite presidency, the first time that a candidate of his party has done so. The Social Democrats are in a liberal coalition with the multiethnic Nasa Stranka, which won Sarajevo’s mayorship in 2020 and the prime ministership of Sarajevo Canton a year later. In Kosovo, the leftist Vetevendosje won Pristina before its leader, Albin Kurti, became prime minister in 2021 – the first premier not to have risen to power as a warlord.

Turkey’s opposition hopes that it can follow that pattern. Opposition candidates Ekrem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas won Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey’s two biggest cities, in local elections in 2019, ending 25 years of rule by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party. Now both mayors have been touted as future presidential candidates. While neither is likely to stand against Erdogan in next year’s elections, their success at a local level, including Istanbul’s award-winning scheme to help impoverished citizens pay their utility bills, has helped to burnish the opposition’s image.

It’s not a done deal. Cities tend to be more liberal and educated, with voting patterns to match. Spreading democratic messages to more conservative provinces is difficult, particularly since Erdogan’s government is tightening its grip on both social and traditional media. Progress can also be reversed: Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, was controlled by the opposition before sliding back to president Aleksandar Vucic’s party. But in top-down autocracies where regimes are seizing control of the media and institutions, fighting from the bottom up is the best strategy.

Hannah Lucinda Smith is Monocle’s Istanbul correspondent.

Image: Volocopter

Society / Global

Up, up and away

Going for a drive around Rome is more likely to induce rage at other motorists than wonderment at the Colosseum. For those hoping to avoid that, a solution might be imminent. A deal between Rome Fiumicino Airport, infrastructure company Atlantia and electric air-taxi company Volocopter means that air taxis – which can look like smaller, chunkier gliders or a large drone but take off and land vertically – could run from Rome’s city centre to the airport by 2024.

The city hopes to have the service in operation ahead of the year-long Vatican Jubilee in 2025, which happens every quarter of a century and will attract millions of tourists. Air taxis are increasingly capturing minds and investment in the aviation industry and it might only be a matter of time before we see them whizzing around cities. Paris also plans to offer some at the 2024 Olympics. There’s one catch, though: the authorities need to sign off on the vehicles. Let’s hope that they’re cleared for lift off in time.

For more on the issues shaping the world’s cities, tune in to ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle 24.

Image: Getty Images

Art / USA

Show and tell

The opening of the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) on Saturday was certainly a long time coming. It has taken the institution 35 years to realise its ambition of having a permanent home to showcase its extensive collection, which had been housed until now in a modest building tucked behind a shopping centre. The result, designed by Morphosis Architects and led by Pritzker-winning Thom Mayne, is an elegant intervention in the city of Costa Mesa that nods to Southern Californian modernism.

“My vision for the reopening of OCMA (pictured) is looking back to look forwards,” the museum’s director, Heidi Zuckerman, tells The Monocle Minute. Zuckerman has kicked off the programme with a revitalised edition of the California Biennial. “When the Biennial first began in 1984, it was the only regular survey of contemporary art in California. The curators visited almost 150 studios to see work from all over the state, from the desert to the ocean and the major cities.”

Image: Getty Images

Retail / France

Cold comforts

As the temperature plummets and high energy prices exacerbate the cost-of-living crisis, France is bracing for a winter of discontent. As part of a longer-term “energy-sobriety” plan, the government is seeking to ensure that all houses have thermostats by 2025; the strategy will also see sports stadiums reducing their lighting by 50 per cent before and after games.

Meanwhile, the private sector sniffs an opportunity. Duvet-maker Dodo will soon release a so-called “energy-saving” range, made at its factory in Lorraine using a new fabric that provides extra heat isolation. Direct sales of the company’s warm and extra-warm ranges have already doubled compared to the same period last year. Now all you’re missing are the PJs.

Image: Dedy Andrianto

Entrepreneurship / Indonesia

Catching the wave

Bali’s tourism industry cratered as a result of the pandemic but, now that Indonesia’s borders are open again, the island long beloved by surfers is welcoming a new wave of remote workers and entrepreneurs. Some come in pursuit of a higher quality of life, while others are seeking to found start-ups or put down roots. “What makes Bali special is that it’s like a meeting incubator,” says Argentinian architect Dolores Giribone. “Everyone has your back here and is there to help you.”

Shortly after arriving, Giribone joined architecture firm Pablo Luna Studio, then co-founded a jewellery line. Her partner, Dutch entrepreneur Peter Witkamp (pictured, with Giribone), is co-founder of Katalys Partners, which helps start-ups. He is also programme director of the Borneo Initiative, a rainforest-conservation group. The couple take business meetings at beach clubs around the island and, on the weekends, head to the southern coast or venture north for the mountains and waterfalls.

For the full story and Monocle’s other Slow-Down Destinations for business, pick up a copy of ‘The Entrepreneurs’, which is now on newsstands.

Image: Alamy

Monocle 24 / The Urbanist

Hot in the city

We assess the challenges ahead for cities as global temperatures continue to rise and some of the ways we hope to mitigate against the sweltering heat.

Monocle Films / Paris

Alexandre Guirkinger

Mont Blanc is one the world’s most famous mountains – and its deadliest. We asked French photographer Alexandre Guirkinger to create a portrait of this mountain and the people who dwell in its powerful shadow. In our latest film, Guirkinger speaks about the process behind the assignment and how he captured the peak’s enthralling, luring mix of beauty and danger. Discover more with The Monocle Book of Photography, which is available to buy today.

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