Monocle 24: The Urbanist

Monocle 24: The Urbanist
With an influential audience of city mayors, urban planners and architects, this is Monocle’s guide to making better cities, be it new technology, state-of-the-art subways or compact apartments.

Universal basic income
Aug 22 • 24 min
How do you define what’s necessary to meet a person’s basic needs? Some countries have been testing the concept of universal basic income – but how does it impact city living?
Tall Stories 170: Cuba’s Coppelia
Aug 19 • 6 min
We take another flick through the pages of our ‘Summer Weekly’ newspaper, this week visiting the hulking modernist flagship of Cuba’s state owned ice-cream brand Coppelia. It’s been serving scoops for more than half a century and has become a symbol of…
Aug 16 • 29 min
Following one of the hottest summers on record, we look at the impact that rising temperatures are having on our cities.
Tall Stories 169: La Grande Motte
Aug 12 • 6 min
This week we delve into issue one of Monocle’s summer newspaper, ‘The Summer Weekly’, and head to the once-marshy, mosquito-ridden coastal commune of La Grande Motte in France, which has been transformed since the 1960s into a lush resort town with real…
Pedestrian zones
Aug 9 • 29 min
To make their centres more liveable, cities across the globe are looking to reduce the dominance of cars by creating pedestrian-only streets, plazas and walkways. They’re at the forefront of many urban-improvement initiatives so we take a look at where…
Tall Stories 168: Bletchley Park
Aug 7 • 8 min
The former Government Code and Cipher School is now a heritage site in Milton Keynes, the newest of the UK’s new towns. We go on a journey through what was once the home of Alan Turing and the Enigma codebreakers.
Aug 1 • 30 min
It’s estimated that as many as 1.6 billion people around the world lack adequate housing. And despite some serious efforts, urban areas still struggle to find a viable solution to the ongoing crisis. So what can be done? And who are the activists and…
Tall Stories 167: Bratislava’s communist-era buildings
Jul 29 • 7 min
Architects and historians tend to admire them but members of the public usually associate them with the injustices of the socialist regime and want them gone. Is this architecture worth saving?
Green New Deal
Jul 26 • 30 min
We unpack what this bold proposal is all about and find out how it wants to tackle both inequality and climate change at the same time.
Tall Stories 166: Chain of Lakes
Jul 22 • 5 min
Minneapolis is home to the Chain of Lakes: a park system designed in the early 20th century that links together the city’s five biggest lakes. We look at how it has influenced the city – from its culture to the built environment.
Catching up
Jul 18 • 27 min
We speak to Lisa Helps, the mayor of Victoria, about her ambitious transport agenda and Clarkston’s mayor Ted Terry about refugees. Plus: can The Tide, a project by the studio behind New York’s High Line, change London?
Tall Stories 165: The Kiwi bach
Jul 15 • 5 min
The bach plays a leading role in New Zealanders’ summer holidays. Monocle 24’s David Stevens takes us to his family’s bach on Waikanae Beach to assess why this classic Kiwi dream might be starting to fade.
Wellbeing and cities
Jul 11 • 29 min
We discuss wellbeing in our urban environments. Reporting from the inaugural Wellbeing Cities Forum in Montréal, we examine how to live well in a city and dissect the social, economic and cultural aspects of urban life.
Tall Stories 164: Stonewall’s legacy
Jul 8 • 7 min
Stonewall is the most influential event in US gay-rights history; in 2016 Barack Obama made the site of the uprising a national monument. But many places critical to LGBT history are under-documented and overlooked.
Lessons from the Quality of Life Conference
Jul 4 • 29 min
Now that Monocle’s fifth annual Quality of Life conference has wrapped up in Madrid, we look back at some of the wisdom we took home with us and ponder how we can use these lessons to effect change in our own urban environments.
Tall Stories 163: Moscow street art
Jul 1 • 4 min
Wander into a Moscow courtyard and you’ll often come across characters made of rusty metal tubes, bits of wood or, perhaps, an old washing machine. With its striking simplicity, this grassroots street art is a uniquely Russian phenomenon – but it might be…
Spotlight: Madrid
Jun 27 • 26 min
As we gear up to host our fifth annual Quality of Life Conference in Madrid, we look at the Spanish capital’s urban plans, promises and problems. Our man in the city, Liam Aldous, brings us this week’s special episode.
Tall Stories 162: Toronto Raptors and the city
Jun 24 • 5 min
The ascent of Toronto’s basketball heroes – the Raptors are this year’s NBA champions – has revealed much about the city. In many ways, the team reflects one of the world’s most diverse urban centres.
Checking in
Jun 20 • 30 min
We hear about a clever digital tool changing our urban environments, look at Toronto’s plans to loosen the reins on high-rises and visit a new museum in Sarajevo.
Tall Stories 161: Torre Littoria
Jun 17 • 6 min
We’re in Turin to ponder a towering relic of the Italy’s fascist past. Referred to as Mussolini’s finger, this skyscraper has stayed standing despite the wishes of residents.
Cities through the artist’s eye
Jun 13 • 29 min
We stroll through the halls of The Urbanist art gallery to look at how the artist’s perspective can help us paint a new picture of the cities we live in.
Tall Stories 160: Glasgow City Chambers
Jun 10 • 5 min
Monocle’s Daniel Bach tells us about the Glasgow City Chambers, which hides one of the city’s greatest architectural features in plain sight.
Urban rulebook
Jun 6 • 24 min
What does it take to be a good citizen? Authorities can set the tone but in the end it’s residents who define the places they live. We look at what’s required to make our cities thrive – and yes, it means following a couple of rules here and there.
Tall Stories 159: Uno Prii
Jun 3 • 6 min
Monocle 24’s Will Kitchens looks at two quietly iconic residential tower blocks from Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.
Private and public development, part two
May 30 • 28 min
We continue our conversation with architect Monica von Schmalensee, developer Jared Della Vale and urban-planner Alfredo Caraballo on the role that private developers play in cities. Plus: we take a closer look at the new World Trade Center.
Tall Stories 158: New-town Britain
May 28 • 5 min
Monocle’s editor Andrew Tuck takes us back to 1971 to tell us all about the UK’s new-town model.
Private and public development, part one
May 23 • 29 min
What role do private developers play in changing public spaces in our cities? This week we join the Van Alen Institute in London as it visits, learns about and passes judgement on the city’s headline-grabbing projects.
Tall Stories 157: Helsinki’s Mikael Agricola church
May 20 • 3 min
This week Monocle 24’s Markus Hippi takes us to Helsinki where one church has a unique feature that most Finns have never heard of.
Time for an update
May 16 • 28 min
After 46 years, Paris is set to welcome a new skyscraper. Plus: we look at a photography book showcasing Atlantic City and discuss sick-building syndrome.
Tall Stories 156: Thessaloniki’s Koulouri
May 13 • 4 min
A tour of the tiny kiosks that can be found on nearly every corner of Greece’s second-largest city.
Death and the city
May 9 • 30 min
How do cities plan for the afterlife? We visit the places where space for the dead is almost as expensive as it is for the living. Plus: a modernist approach to the cemetery and the importance of archeology in cities.
Tall Stories 155: Vienna’s sausage stands
May 7 • 5 min
They may be plain and boxy but these kiosks are vital meeting places, attracting customers from across social boundaries. Invariably found near landmarks, they engage in a curious architectural dialogue with their grander neighbours.
Urban air mobility
May 2 • 30 min
This week we look to the sky. Monocle’s Americas editor at large Ed Stocker reports from Aerial Futures in Boston, where experts gathered to discuss everything from cargo drones to urban-mobility design.
Tall Stories 154: St Andrew’s Church, Mells
Apr 29 • 3 min
Monocle’s editor and host of ‘The Urbanist’ Andrew Tuck takes us to church on this week’s edition of ‘Tall Stories’.
After the fire
Apr 25 • 28 min
The fire in Notre-Dame brought the world to a standstill. This wasn’t about the human loss or the area affected by it. It was about something bigger: a shared cultural heritage that unites us all – believers and non-believers. It also led us to reflect on…
Tall Stories 153: Brooklyn Point
Apr 23 • 7 min
Over the past few years, Brooklyn has shape-shifted almost beyond recognition. That change is anchored by City Point, which will be the largest retail and entertainment destination in the borough.
In praise of the city airport
Apr 18 • 27 min
Bigger planes and more flights have forced many cities to move their key airport far from the centre. But there is something special about watching the city from above as you land in what feels like the middle of it. This week we ask what makes a great…
Tall Stories 152: Portland’s Koin Center
Apr 15 • 3 min
Built in 1984, this art deco-style tower by the Hawthorne bridge is one of the most recognisable buildings in the city’s skyline.
Shouting from the rooftops
Apr 11 • 29 min
We explore the many options for urban-rooftop spaces. From city agriculture to solar power, drinking and dining to drone parking, we go through some potential plans for your next upper-level project.
Tall Stories 151: the Otto-Wagner Hospital
Apr 8 • 6 min
A psychiatric hospital built by the giant of 20th-century Austrian architecture, Otto Wagner, is now due to vacate the premises to make way for apartments and a university.
What’s new?
Apr 4 • 27 min
We find out why Amsterdam wants to reclaim more than 11,000 car-parking spaces, how a Paris suburb is limbering up for the 2024 Olympic Games, get a dose of immersive tourism in Sarajevo and a look at Chicago’s newly elected mayor.
Tall Stories 150: Pittsburgh’s bridges
Apr 1 • 5 min
This week we head to the steel powerhouse of Pittsburgh, which happens to be the proud home of 446 bridges.
Affordable housing
Mar 28 • 25 min
We look at Helsinki’s model of mixed housing, Cairo’s plan to end all slum dwellings by the end of the year and hear why the state of California is suing some of its own cities over affordability.
Tall Stories 149: Sick-building syndrome
Mar 25 • 5 min
This week we look at this poorly understood phenomenon, spotlighting Alexander Fleming House in London by modernist architect Ernö Goldfinger.
New projects
Mar 21 • 26 min
We look at Hong Kong’s Lantau Tomorrow Vision project, hear about a new all-female ride-sharing company in São Paulo and more.
Tall Stories 148: LA’s Spring Street bike lane
Mar 18 • 3 min
This week we hear from Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles’ chief design officer who holds forth on a disastrous Downtown bike-lane blunder on Spring Street.
Urban wildlife
Mar 14 • 24 min
This week we look at urban wildlife across the globe – and how people feel about it. Hear about kangaroos in Canberra, weasels in Cairo and even scorpions in São Paulo.
Tall Stories 147: Vienna and Joseph Stalin
Mar 11 • 7 min
Many monuments to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin quickly dismantled or destroyed after his death. Today Vienna is home to the only remaining memorial to the communist leader in western Europe.
Shared mobility
Mar 7 • 27 min
Electric scooters take over the cobbles in Lisbon, car-sharing app Mobility4All is putting senior citizens first and New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio calls e-bikes one of his city’s biggest dangers.
Tall Stories 146: Michigan Building
Mar 4 • 5 min
This week we head to Detroit to hear the story of a parking garage housed inside an old theatre.
Food & the city
Feb 28 • 28 min
What’s your city’s best-kept food secret? This week we sample a tasting menu across Europe to discover how different urban areas feel about food.
Tall Stories 145: Vienna’s ground-floor gas stations
Feb 25 • 6 min
There’s little room in Vienna for stand-alone service stations so petrol pumps had to be put into the ground floors of buildings. But many of these small and quirky stations are now disappearing.
France special
Feb 21 • 28 min
This week it’s all about France as be bring to air some of the stories we found while creating our special Gallic March issue of Monocle.
Tall Stories 144: Helsinki’s City Theatre
Feb 18 • 5 min
We head to Finland to discover the history of one the country’s modernist icons.
Elements: fire
Feb 14 • 26 min
We wrap up our four-part series on elements with a look at fires and the efforts around the world to control them.
Tall Stories 143: Copacabana Palace
Feb 11 • 3 min
The Copacabana Palace is an icon of Brazilian glamour that’s standing the test of time and remains the place to be seen in the city.
Elements: earth
Feb 7 • 28 min
Earthquakes are one of the most unpredictable and uncontrollable natural disasters that our urban centres face. We continue our series on elements with a spotlight on Los Angeles.
Tall Stories 142: Hundertwasserhaus
Feb 4 • 6 min
This week we head to Vienna to hear the story of the odd – but architecturally interesting – Hundertwasserhaus.
Elements: air
Jan 31 • 27 min
We meet the author of new book called ‘Choked’ that takes a fresh approach to air pollution, look at super typhoons in Hong Kong and sing the praises of the creator of the humble AC unit.
Tall Stories 141: The Braille Institute of America
Jan 28 • 5 min
Monocle’s Tomos Lewis takes us on a tour of this brutalist complex designed by the architects Arthur Yohannan and Sergio Miranda.
Elements: water
Jan 24 • 24 min
How are our cities dealing with rising water levels? And what approaches are being used to make them more resilient?
Tall Stories 140: Sunset Tower
Jan 21 • 4 min
Monocle’s Andrew Tuck takes a look at this Hollywood architectural legend – and the tales behind it.
Spring cleaning
Jan 17 • 29 min
How to keep New York’s subway clean, why Calgary is using beetroot brine to clear the streets of snow and the importance of going green. And a city icon: Rio de Janeiro’s street-sweepers.
Tall Stories 139: Moscow’s trolleybuses
Jan 14 • 5 min
Trolleybuses have been used extensively in Moscow since they first appeared in 1933. Now the city’s government wants to get rid of them, citing traffic concerns and maintenance costs.
Back on track
Jan 10 • 29 min
We head to San Francisco to hear how a city can be built on such steep topography, examine Vienna’s plans to reduce property speculation and get an architectural tour of former Yugoslav cities.
Tall Stories 138: Premier House
Jan 7 • 4 min
This week we head to Wellington where, nestled into the side of a hill and on a quiet suburban street, you can find Premier House – the official residence of the country’s prime minister.
The Best of Tall Stories 2018
Jan 3 • 27 min
We kick off the year with a recap of the best Tall Stories of 2018, including a secret garden in the desert and a former government building with a mural by Pablo Picasso on its façade.
The best of The Urbanist
Dec 28, 2018 • 28 min
We look back at some of the highlights of 2018 on The Urbanist, including the power of audio in architecture, murder rates and the history of Covent Garden Market. Plus: a game show.
The key themes of 2018
Dec 20, 2018 • 29 min
On this week’s special edition, Monocle editor Andrew Tuck is joined by Kat Hanna and Christian Wolmar to look back at some of the main themes in urbanism, city-planning and architecture from the year gone by.
Tall Stories 137: The 1984 Sarajevo Games
Dec 17, 2018 • 6 min
With civil war destroying much of what was built for the Games, this city’s Olympic legacy is a particularly poignant one. We reflect on the design achievements that were lost – and celebrate those that survived.
Dec 14, 2018 • 27 min
City-dwellers cannot avoid traffic jams, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings as cars continue to dominate our urban areas. Join us as we unpack traffic and how driving affects us.
Tall Stories 136: the Supreme Court of British Columbia complex
Dec 10, 2018 • 6 min
We’re in Vancouver to assess how one of its central institutional buildings – which is also one of the country’s architectural gems – might offer lessons to city-builders across Canada today.
Athens special
Dec 6, 2018 • 27 min
To coincide with the release of our new Athens travel guide, Monocle’s Venetia Rainey takes the temperature of the city she calls home.
Tall Stories 135: Niemeyer in Tripoli
Dec 3, 2018 • 5 min
Oscar Niemeyer designed the Rashid Karami International Fair in Tripoli in the 1960s. But before work was complete the country descended into civil war and now the magnificent site is slowly crumbling.
LA CoMotion part 2
Nov 29, 2018 • 28 min
Monocle’s editor Andrew Tuck and America’s editor at large Ed Stocker wrap up their report from this year’s urban-mobility conference LA CoMotion.
Tall Stories 134: Northland Mall
Nov 26, 2018 • 5 min
What can the mastermind of the much-maligned mall teach us about cherishing our high streets? Plenty, says Monocle’s Josh Fehnert.
LA CoMotion part 1
Nov 22, 2018 • 28 min
Monocle’s editor Andrew Tuck and Americas editor at large Ed Stocker team up in Los Angeles to report from this year’s urban-mobility conference LA CoMotion.
Tall Stories 133: Red Vienna
Nov 19, 2018 • 9 min
Sandwiched between the grassroots Vienna settlement movement and the ascent of fascism in 1934, Red Vienna is a unique example of social housing.
The London bus
Nov 15, 2018 • 29 min
We devote an episode to London’s most recognisable form of transport: the bus. Authors Travis Elborough and Joe Kerr discuss their book ‘Bus Fare’.
Tall Stories 132: London’s Soho
Nov 12, 2018 • 3 min
Monocle 24’s Fernando Augusto Pacheco examines the changing face of London’s Soho, from it being a place where you’d go to dance to becoming a mecca for menswear.
CityLab 2018
Nov 8, 2018 • 32 min
This year’s edition of CityLab brought together more than 600 city leaders to discuss some of the world’s most urgent urban issues; here’s our report.
Tall Stories 131: Kavanagh building
Nov 5, 2018 • 3 min
Monocle editor Andrew Tuck takes us to Buenos Aires to bring us the story of what was once the highest skyscraper in Latin America.
Special live edition
Nov 1, 2018 • 30 min
Monocle editor Andrew Tuck is joined by Henry Squire, Alice Cabaret, Sam Potte and Kat Hanna for a live edition of the programme, celebrating the launch of ‘The Monocle Guide to Building Better Cities’.
Tall Stories 130: Old Elbe tunnel
Oct 29, 2018 • 5 min
We head to the port city of Hamburg to explore a centenary structure that connects the centre to the southern shore of the Elbe.
Genoa: after the Morandi bridge
Oct 25, 2018 • 33 min
On 14 August, during heavy rainfall, a motorway bridge collapsed in Genoa. It brought the region to a standstill and now, two months on, we’re back in the city to try and understand the consequences.
Tall Stories 129: Royal Tyrrell Museum
Oct 22, 2018 • 11 min
We’re in the small town of Drumheller in central Alberta to hear the story of a building that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Toronto’s mayoral election
Oct 18, 2018 • 29 min
As Toronto gears up to elect a new mayor, we bring you a special edition unpacking the key issues. Plus: interviews with the candidates: incumbent John Tory and former chief city-planner Jennifer Keesmaat.
Tall Stories 128: Y-Block
Oct 15, 2018 • 6 min
We’re in Oslo to hear the story of a former government building left in limbo since the 2011 terrorist attacks. But many argue in favour of its architectural value, mainly due to the large mural on its façade designed by Pablo Picasso.
Cities on screen
Oct 11, 2018 • 29 min
From sci-fi to rom-coms and beyond, we cast our gaze to the silver screen to get some notes on how to build our cities right, plus a bit of set-jetting too.
Tall Stories 127: Community cinemas
Oct 8, 2018 • 5 min
Despite the arrival of streaming services and multiplex theatres, good independent cinemas are thriving. This week we examine the charm – and power – of the community cinema.
Oct 4, 2018 • 29 min
This week we raid our archive and bring you a special highlight episode: we discover how Albania has cracked down on organised crime, why violent crime rates have been dropping in the US and much more.
Tall Stories 126: Millennium Dome
Oct 1, 2018 • 7 min
This bold urban project was designed to usher the UK into the third millennium but it didn’t quite go according to plan.
On the move
Sep 27, 2018 • 24 min
It’s the last instalment of our series unpacking ‘The Monocle Guide to Building Better Cities’. This week we turn our focus to mobility.
Tall Stories 125: Helsinki Central Railway Station
Sep 24, 2018 • 4 min
With 200,000 passengers a day, Helsinki Central Railway Station is Finland’s most visited building. But its significance for the Nordic nation lies in much more than just the people who travel through its doors.
Work & the city
Sep 20, 2018 • 28 min
We continue to unpack our new book, ‘The Monocle Guide to Building Better Cities’. This week we turn our focus to chapter 7, looking at the places where we work.
Tall Stories 124: The Melnikov House
Sep 17, 2018 • 7 min
Konstantin Melnikov’s most significant building was the house he built for himself in 1929. It remained in the Melnikov family for decades until, in 2014 after much legal wrangling, it was taken over by the Moscow Museum of Architecture.
Building Better Cities: Barcelona
Sep 13, 2018 • 30 min
We continue to explore the pages of ‘The Monocle Guide to Building Better Cities’. This week we’re off to the Catalonian capital to hear how the city has changed through the years and what lessons it has learned for the future.
Tall Stories 123: Rowley, Canada
Sep 10, 2018 • 11 min
After being a ghost town for decades, Rowley in central Alberta has been reinvented. With old Western-style buildings still intact, it has become a quirky spot in the middle of the Canadian prairies and an open-air museum of sorts.
Building better cities
Sep 6, 2018 • 29 min
All this month we’re dedicating the show to chapters from our new book: ‘The Monocle Guide to Building Better Cities’. We start off with a series of essays that look at some of the challenges our urban areas face and how cities would be nothing without…
Tall Stories 122: Peckham Rye
Sep 3, 2018 • 4 min
Peckham Rye has long been a source of inspiration to artists and writers; in this week’s Tall Stories we explore the history and atmosphere of the London park where William Blake once saw angels and to which Muriel Spark summoned devils.