The Urbanist

Mind your manners

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30 July 2015

Episode 198

26 minutes


Photo: Thilo Hilberer

There’s a set of unspoken rules of conduct that make our cities tick: standing on the right on an escalator, properly tipping in a restaurant and behaving in a certain way on public transport. But how do people manage to remain civil in a hostile urban environment? Join us as we explore etiquette and politeness in the city.

30 July 2015

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Chapter 1

4 minutes


Photo: PROplay

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Chapter 1

Etiquette in Madrid: talk the talk

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Bearing in mind that each city has its own set of unspoken rules of conduct, we asked a few of our correspondents to explain some of Madrid’s. The city’s inhabitants are a chatty lot, which makes it much easy for new arrivals to settle down in the Spanish capital and even strike up a conversation with a stranger.

4 minutes

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Chapter 2

6 minutes


Photo: SteFou!

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Chapter 2

Hamburg’s Honourable Merchant: a code of ethics for businessmen

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Hamburg has a powerful code of conduct for businessmen, dating back to the 16th century. We track down the ethical ideal of the Honourable Merchant, which is key to understanding the city’s characteristics as a place of business.

6 minutes

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Chapter 3

3 minutes


Photo: Harvey Barrison

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Chapter 3

Etiquette in Istanbul: street crossing

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We head to Istanbul to explore a particular practice that usually stuns outsiders: crossing the street. It’s quite an extraordinary thing to watch and even more difficult to replicate, as there’s a proper way to do it.

3 minutes

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Chapter 4

3 minutes


Photo: Greentleaf

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Chapter 4

Etiquette in Tokyo: manners of a daily commute

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When it comes to governing public conduct, Japan has quite a set of unspoken and subliminal rules. This is particularly felt when commuting – there are few manners to follow when cycling or travelling by train.

3 minutes

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Chapter 5

4 minutes


Photo: La Citta Vitta

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Chapter 5

The psychology behind urban politeness

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The number of people and amount of activity that modern cities concentrate in one place is unprecedented in human history. How do people manage to remain civil in such a hostile urban place? Colin Ellard, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo, explains the intersection between psychology and urban design.

4 minutes

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Chapter 6

2 minutes


Photo: Rishad Daroowala

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Chapter 6

Etiquette in New York: tipping

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As one of the most visited and expensive cities in the world, New York can be rather confusing when it comes to tipping protocol. But to Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder and director of The Etiquette School of New York, ignorance is not bliss. She tells us who you should be tipping, how much and the proper way to do so.

2 minutes

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