Wednesday 30 November 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 30/11/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Jamie Bowering

Opinion / Fernando Augusto Pacheco

By the book

Whether I’m heading to Bergen or Mombasa, whenever I pack a suitcase I make sure to throw in a trusty travel guide along with my socks and toothbrush. Having a little book that’s full of curated advice helps me to get offline and engage with the world around me rather than constantly looking down at a screen.

It’s an exciting time for travel guides. Giants of the genre such as Lonely Planet and Rough Guides still dominate bookshelves but a wealth of more selective guides are doing increasingly well. Wildsam, a series of guidebooks about US cities, coastlines and regions, recently launched its 50th title (about the Big Sur coastline) and has sold more than 400,000 books in the past decade. The A Week Abroad collection shows readers how to live for seven days like locals in sun-drenched places across southern Europe, while Monocle has also launched Portugal: The Monocle Handbook, the first title in a series of practical guides bringing you the best in a particular country’s hotels, beaches, restaurants and design.

I’ve had the pleasure of showcasing others, such as The Sensible Guide to Split & Its Islands, on The Stack, Monocle 24’s programme about the printed word. Writing it allowed Jasmina Knezović, who was born in Chicago to Croatian parents, to relive the summers that she spent there when she was growing up. The guide is packed with historical context and tips that are far from obvious – a key qualifier.

Dime-a-dozen “The best things to do in…” listicles rarely seem to be written by someone who has done more than look at landmarks on Google. But travel guides that show us that cute backstreet restaurant in Lisbon or cool Tokyo record shop can enrich our experience of the world, helping us to be good travellers and feed a worthwhile industry. Now that we are able to travel again, let’s do it well and have a charming (albeit dog-eared) guide to remember it by.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a senior correspondent for Monocle 24.

To read the full story about Wildsam, pick up your copy of Monocle’s ‘The Forecast’. And for our interview with the author of ‘The Messy Nessy Chic Guide to Paris’, tune in to ‘The Stack’ this weekend on Monocle 24.

Image: Alamy

Urbanism / Belgium & Ukraine

Action stations

Perhaps one of the most significant results of the Kyiv Investment Forum in Brussels, which closed earlier this week, was the memorandum of understanding signed between the European Investment Bank and the Ukrainian capital’s municipality. It pledges a €450m loan to upgrade the city’s metro network and an additional €500m for its extension. Kyiv’s metro became a shining example of Soviet postwar infrastructure when it opened in 1960. This year the network has become a symbol of Ukraine’s defiance with its stations and tunnels being used to shield citizens from rocket attacks. Currently, more than half of the system’s coaches require upgrading or replacing. “Investments are the driving force of city development,” Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said at the forum. “We are planning many interesting and promising projects that, first, will be profitable as investments and, second, will help us overcome the consequences of the war and build Greater Kyiv, which is innovative, sustainable and successful.”


Defence / Estonia

Back to the firewall

About 1,000 cybersecurity experts from Nato and the wider industry have gathered in Tallinn this week for Cyber Coalition 22, one of the world’s largest cyber-defence exercises. The event will simulate challenges such as attacks on electrical infrastructure and Nato assets, with the aim of improving the ability of the military alliance and its partners to defend themselves and co-operate.

Estonia’s defence minister, Hanno Pevkur, has pointed out that constant training is essential; after all, cyberattacks against Ukraine were happening well before Russia invaded in February and Nato countries are contending with them every day. If any country knows how important it is to be prepared, it’s Estonia: the Baltic nation has a long history of dealing with Russian cyberattacks. That might be one reason why it has become one of Europe’s most technology-savvy nations.

Image: Shutterstock

Education / Australia

Signal problems

South Australia has announced that it will ban smartphones in public high schools from 2023, becoming the latest state after the Northern Territory, Victoria and Western Australia to do so. Lawmakers hope that removing the devices from the classroom will reduce cyber-bullying, prevent the filming of fights and cut down on distraction during lessons. Phil Clark, professor of international politics at Soas University of London, who grew up in Australia, tells The Monocle Daily that the policy is only possible “because Australia has always been a society that is [particularly] tolerant of state intervention”. But it isn’t the only country that’s cracking down. Italy’s new right-wing government is also expected to ban phones in class as part of an executive order that is purportedly intended to improve various aspects of social life. The question of how far the state should intervene in decisions involving the everyday management of pupils is complex but it’s hard to argue against banning potentially distracting and harmful influences from the classroom.

Image: WAF

Architecture / Portugal

Built to last

Today marks the opening of the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Lisbon’s 100,000 sq m Feira Internacional de Lisboa exhibition centre. The festival first launched in 2008 and is the industry’s largest event celebrating newly completed projects and inspiring concepts. Influential figures will give talks and judge work, and networking events will be held for the 2,000 designers, developers and other delegates in attendance.

This year 495 buildings have been shortlisted from more than 50 countries and the finalists include practices such as Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects. With “Together” as its theme, WAF will have public spaces and buildings – civic centres, cultural institutions, offices and more – at the top of its agenda. Delegates and visitors will be able to take guided tours of the Parque das Nações office building (pictured), winner of this year’s Lisbon Prize, the top gong for new buildings in the host city. WAF runs until 2 December.

Image: Alamy

Monocle 24 / Monocle On Culture

Art Basel Miami Beach

Robert Bound and guests mark 20 years of Art Basel Miami Beach. Artnet’s executive editor Julia Halperin shares her memories of the fair, while outgoing and incoming directors Marc Spiegler and Noah Horowitz discuss the history and future of Art Basel Miami Beach. Plus: Heather Hubbs, director of the New Art Dealers Alliance fair, on how this upstart art fair became an institution all on its own.

Monocle Films / Global

Meet the photographers: Rena Effendi

In our latest film series, we meet and celebrate some of the people behind our iconic photography reportage. In our first episode Istanbul-based photographer Rena Effendi (pictured) talks about her process, why she shoots on film and her assignment to Libya in 2021. She had never been to Tripoli before but was soon won over and captured a mesmerising mix of full-blown glamour, oddness and a perhaps unexpected order and calmness. Discover more with The Monocle Book of Photography, which is available to buy today.


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