Friday 15 March 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 15/3/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Image: MIPIM

Housing / Carlota Rebelo

Better builds

Investors, developers, civic leaders and academics have been in Cannes this week for Mipim, the world’s leading property fair. While this is an event ripe for business deals, it also provides a platform to address the core challenges currently being faced by the industry. The summit started with a staggering figure: “We would need to build 96,000 new housing units per day in order to bridge the housing gap,” Michal Mlynár, the acting executive director of UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency dedicated to cities, told Monocle. While this is not meant to be used as a goal, the UN wanted to quantify the scale of the problem in order to bring partners to the table.

It was refreshing to see that Mipim dedicated a pre-summit event entitled “Housing Matters” to the issue. It brought together individuals who are focused on creating solutions to the housing crisis. Ideas showcased included Fratries, a shared-living solution for people with disabilities, which was devised by French entrepreneur Emmanuel de Carayon. Cutwork studio co-founder Kelsea Crawford also ran through its innovative co-living space for single parents, which offers homework-assistance groups, meal-prep help and even a kindergarten on site.

As the cost-of-living crisis escalates globally, more and more young adults are being priced out of adequate housing. The knock-on effect is tremendous – decisions about whether to start a family are often postponed, independence is compromised and many are having to delay leaving parental homes. The traditional household no longer comprises a couple with 2.4 children, as was the accepted wisdom in the UK for decades, so why are new homes still being built with this figure in mind? It’s imperative that developers and local leaders rethink their housing stock and create a city that truly fits all.

Carlota Rebelo is Monocle’s senior foreign correspondent. Tune in to this week’s special Mipim-themed episode of ‘The Urbanist’ which aired on Thursday and for more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings

Hand in hand: Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz visit Irpin, Ukraine

Image: Getty Images

Diplomacy / France, Germany & Poland

Meeting of minds

The leaders of Poland, Germany and France will meet in Berlin today to discuss aid for Ukraine. It will be the first time that Donald Tusk, Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron have met since Tusk took office in Poland. The meeting is an attempt to present a united front and reduce Franco-German tensions over Ukraine, which have escalated in recent weeks.

“Building a consensus about aid for Ukraine is not the easiest process, even if we consider how united Europe was at the beginning of the war two years ago,” Michal Baranowski, managing director of German Marshall Fund East, told The Briefing on Monocle Radio. “If these three countries manage to find a common approach, despite their different perspectives, the rest of the EU will have an easier time following through.”

For more on the meeting in Berlin, tune in to Thursday’s edition of ‘The Briefing’ on Monocle Radio.

Branching out: The Philippines attracts investment

Image: Getty Images

Investment / Philippines

Done deal

The Philippines clinched two major investment pledges worth a combined $5bn (€4.6bn) this week from German and US companies. It’s a significant influx of foreign capital, which will lead to infrastructure improvement and create jobs for Filipinos. On a recent trip to Germany, the Philippines’ president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, announced that he had secured eight separate deals with German businesses, which are projected to bring about $4bn (€3.6bn) into the country.

Projects will focus on organic farming, a hospital training centre and a military manufacturing facility. Earlier this week, US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo visited the Philippines on a trade mission alongside executives from Visa, Microsoft, Google and other American companies. The trip led to a $1bn (€915m) in investment pledges from US firms such as KKR, which plans to expand telecoms operations in the Philippines. This fresh financial commitment comes at a time when defence co-operation between the US and the Philippines is increasing and bodes well for the Asian nation’s flagging economy.

Art / Global

Drawing attention

Despite economic and geopolitical instability, the global art market remains resilient. A joint report published this week by UBS and Art Basel shows that the US art industry remains the strongest in the world, with China now in second place and the UK in third. “The US has been one of the best-performing markets over the past 20 years and has helped to drive the recovery of global sales following their contraction in 2020,” says John Matthews, head of private wealth management at UBS. Election years are known to be divisive, however. Experts are betting on a so-called “Taylor Swift effect”, which describes paying premium prices for entertainment and leisure activities, to bolster the market. The forthcoming months are bound to be rocky but capitalising on the sociable nature of art collecting will keep the industry afloat.

Beyond the Headlines

Image: Sinna Nasseri

Photo of the week / Sinna Nasseri

In a flash

This week’s photo is taken by New York-based American-Iranian photographer Sinna Nasseri, who is known for his intimate, gonzo journalism-style images of celebrities. Here, he roams the red carpet of the 96th Academy Awards to capture the annual event’s glamour from a different perspective.

Monocle Radio / The Entrepreneurs

Vyn and Namuk

We meet two Swiss founders working to combat overconsumption in style. Co-founder Stefan Mathys breaks down how Vyn trainers marry craftsmanship with a deep understanding of wear patterns to craft durable kicks with added value for consumers. Franz Bittmann, CEO of Namuk, talks about his sustainable children’s outdoor-clothing brand, which encourages a deep-seated love for nature from a young age.


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