Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.
My Perfect City: Women entrepreneurs in Kochi
The cosmopolitan port city of Kochi is the commercial capital of the southern state of Kerala, which has a special track record when it comes to gender equality. Female literacy and life expectancy rates are among the highest in India, and greater access to economic opportunities has made Kochi a hub for women-led businesses, which not only boosts the economy but has lasting development benefits for society as a whole.
The newly elected Mayor of Kochi, M Anil Kumar, is keen to make female entrepreneurship a flagship policy by increasing access to funding, startup and incubation programmes. We also hear how women’s safety is key to ensuring they have equal access to the workplace. But how far does India’s deep-seated gender discrimination cast a shadow?
Fi Glover is joined by urbanists Abha Joshi-Ghani and Dr Ellie Cosgrave to assess Kochi’s achievements. Is it a model for a perfect city?
The team also consider Stockholm’s record on promoting women entrepreneurs.
Featuring Pinky Jayaprakash, CEO and co-founder of edtech digital assessment platform SkEdu; Vinodini Isaac, president of the Women’s Entrepreneur Network; Dr Shoba Arun, reader in sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University; and EK Bharat Bhushan, Kerala’s former chief secretary.
My Perfect City: Integration in Rotterdam
Rotterdam is lauded for its policies on integrating immigrant populations into the city. What exactly has it got right?
The second biggest city in The Netherlands is like many port cities. Over the decades it has been a magnet for immigrant workers, whose descendants now number more than 50 percent of the population and tend to live in certain neighbourhoods.
Racial tensions brought the problem of integration to the top of the political agenda. Today, holistic approaches tackle education and employment, as well as quite radical policies on housing.
Fi Glover and panellists Professor Greg Clark, urbanist and global city adviser, and Liz Ogbu, social innovator and spatial justice activist, test the credentials of the Rotterdam desegregation model. Should it be added to the perfect city portfolio?
The team also consider Durban’s path to desegregation.
My Perfect City: Housing in Vienna
In Vienna housing is considered a basic human right. Is it a model other cities should follow?
In the Austrian capital, 60% of citizens live in subsidised social housing. Rent is affordable and developments are built to a high design and environmental specification. Many include swimming pools, schools, medical and sports facilities, while people from all walks of life live side by side, encouraging social cohesion.
Fi Glover and panellists Greg Clark, urbanist and global city adviser, and urban designer Pooja Agrawal test the credentials of the Viennese housing model. Should it be added to the perfect city portfolio?
The team also consider Kigali’s public housing achievements.
My Perfect City: Mental health in Singapore
People who live in cities are more likely to experience mental health problems than their rural counterparts. Has Singapore found a solution to improving its citizens’ wellbeing that other cities should follow?
Greening urban areas, creating therapeutic gardens and high amenity public spaces, encouraging physical exercise as well as housing security and social services aim to reduce rates of common disorders such as OCD, anxiety and depression.
Fi Glover and panellists Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of the UCL Urban Laboratory, and urbanist Abha Joshi Ghani test the credentials of Singapore’s initiatives. Is it a mental health blueprint for our imagined urban utopia?
The team also consider Dubai’s ambition to be the “world’s happiest city”.
My Perfect City: Employment in Toronto
Fi Glover returns with panellists Dr Ellie Cosgrave, director of the UCL Urban Laboratory, and global city adviser Greg Clark to test the credentials of the most pioneering city initiatives around the world. Who is leading the way when it comes to solving humanity’s most pressing problems?
With unemployment rising around the world in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the team assesses Toronto’s long-term strategy to boost employment.
Following the decline of the manufacturing sector in Canada, its largest city Toronto faced high unemployment levels. But over the last 30 years it has taken steps to increase its labour market, diversify its employment sector and attract large numbers of people into work.
Is it a model other cities should follow?
The team also consider Taipei’s employment record.
Finders Keepers: A house that came home
What chance do communities have of getting looted artefacts back, and what lessons do the world's museums need to learn? Stijn Schoonderwoerd and Wayne Modest describe how the Netherlands are trying to decolonise their museums. Maori elders Sir Hirini Moko Mead and judge Layne Harvey led a successful campaign for the return of a sacred tribal meeting house, stolen over a hundred years before - what can others learn from their experience?