Monday 8 May 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 8/5/2023

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Christopher Cermak

Blue notes

When I was in New York for Donald Trump’s arraignment last month I was struck by the NYPD’s community police branch managing the crowds of pro- and anti-Trumpers in the park outside the courthouse. They wore royal blue shirts (pictured), engaged in conversation and quietly escorted away anyone causing too much of a ruckus. Armed police stood watch outside the park but didn’t engage.

Mark Stewart, deputy commissioner of community affairs for the NYPD, tells me that studies have found that the lighter shade of blue is deemed less threatening than the navy blue that New York’s police typically wear. Stewart spoke at the Professionalising Law Enforcement Community Engagement Training conference (Plecet for short) in Atlanta last week. The first event of its kind, it happened to come just after a deadly mass shooting in the heart of Atlanta and brought together hundreds of police officers to discuss best practices for serving their communities. It was filled with tips on how to de-escalate situations and reach out even to those who don’t trust you. Speakers stressed that knowing your community is a preventative measure: it helps tackle the root causes of crime and means that the public is more likely to contact police when a crime takes place.

Plecet attendees told me that they’ll take important lessons back to their departments but privately there’s concern about the state of policing in the US. “It’s the worst it’s been in my 35 years in policing,” says one attendee. Another says his greatest fear is being wrongly accused; the struggle to retain good police officers is a common theme. With trust in policing at a low, crime at a high and community and race relations under a microscope, it’s odd that such a national training conference hasn’t taken place until now. Changing the culture of policing and its relationship with communities is cumbersome but central to improving the crucial role that law enforcement plays in our society today – no matter what shade of blue they may be wearing.

Christopher Cermak is Monocle’s Washington’s correspondent. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

Image: Getty Images


Digging deep

Last week, Norway’s petroleum and energy minister Terje Aasland announced that it is his country’s “social responsibility” to search for hydrocarbons in the Barents Sea. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Norway has taken on the mantle as Europe’s largest provider of natural gas. “Currently, gas supplies from Norway are maxed out so it is looking to exploit more of its vast natural resources, especially with so many willing buyers,” Rachel Morison, team leader for power, gas and renewables at Bloomberg, tells The Monocle Minute. While environmentalists are staunchly opposed to this, the war has thrown Europe’s energy resources into sharp relief, meaning a willingness to find more compromises. But that’s not to say that everyone is in agreement. France has been accelerating its already extensive nuclear programme, while Germany is committed to switching off its remaining nuclear reactors. As Norway looks to the Barents Sea, Europe’s best hopes rest on finding a common energy policy – and fast.

Image: Shutterstock


Going nowhere fast

Two years ago, venture capitalists were pouring money into start-ups promising super-fast delivery in the world’s biggest cities, often in less than 15 minutes. A standout was Berlin-based Gorillas, which snapped up market share with its breakneck expansion and quirky advertising. But fast-forward to today and the sector’s fortunes are looking rather different.

Super-fast delivery start-ups are struggling in the face of low profits (if any) and waning investor enthusiasm. As the great outdoors beckons post-pandemic, the novelty appears to be wearing off. Gorillas has been bought out by rival Getir, and its co-founder has moved on to licensing food brands to restaurants. Getir and Flink are now the only two players remaining in Europe, down from 15 in 2021. Furthermore, lawmakers in Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam have recently placed restrictions on so-called “dark stores”, the urban warehouses key to super-fast delivery times. Given market trends, they may not have needed to bother.

Image: Getty Images


Still fizzing

Boyband royalty BTS tends to be the flagbearer for K-pop but this month several South Korean all-woman groups are enjoying a resurgence after a recent hiatus. Groups including Le Sserafim (pictured), Aespa and (G)I-dle are set to release new albums, while Itzy reached number one in the K-pop Hot 100 last week, claiming top spot in a saturated market. As well as K-pop’s domestic popularity, Singapore, Malaysia and the US have become major consumers of the catchy rhythms and slick choreography.

Nevertheless the suspected suicide of K-pop star Moonbin in April was a reminder of the intensity of the highly competitive industry, which selects artists from a particularly young age and imposes a gruelling training regime on them. For a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world, the human cost of hallyu – the Korean cultural wave – mustn’t be underestimated.

Image: Kate Williams


Meet the makers

London Craft Week – an annual event bringing together more than 750 established and emerging makers, designers, brands and galleries – kicks off today in the British capital. Events range from exhibitions to workshops on bio-embellishment and hand-stitching. Here’s what you should keep an eye out for:

Delvaux A celebration of craftsmanship will take place at the Belgian brand’s New Bond Street boutique on 11 and 12 May, featuring leather artisans showcasing their skills in a live demonstration.

Cubitts x Vic Wright Textured artworks crafted by Manchester-based sculptor Vic Wright will be on display at the optician’s Coal Drops Yard shop throughout the next two weeks.

Quilts: A Material Culture at Batsford Gallery In Hackney, East London, the newly opened Batsford Gallery will exhibit the work of five quilt-makers, all of whom engage with the form in different ways. Expect bright colours and abstract patterns.
London Craft Week runs until 14 May.

Image: Cocol

Monocle Radio / On Design

Architectural drawings, Cocol, Meghan Preiss and Marc Newson

Industrial designer Marc Newson discusses his experiments with metalwork techniques and we visit Cocol, a shop in Madrid that celebrates craft traditions. Plus: an exhibition of architectural drawings in London.

Monocle Films / Vienna

Design tours: the best public housing?

The world is urbanising fast. But how do you accommodate people in cities in a way that offers dignity, affordability and a sense of community? Vienna may have a solution. Explore the enduring legacy of the city’s Gemeindebau apartment blocks in the latest episode of our Design Tours series.


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