REPOST: The 15 Best Cities In The World For Art

Planning to do ‘art tourism’ somewhere abroad? For the best experience, The Culture Trip suggests going to any of these superb cities:

Whether home to stunning public sculptures, world-renowned art galleries or a burgeoning street art scene, these cities scattered across the globe are the ideal destination for any self-professed lover of art. We tour some of the most vibrant art scenes in the world from familiar hotspots like Paris to up-and-coming arty hubs like Mexico City and Lagos.

Paris, France
With over 1,000 art galleries spread across the city, Paris is an art lover’s mecca. From iconic art museums like The Louvre – home of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and a must-do on any art fan’s bucket list – and veteran contemporary galleries like Galerie Daniel Templon to relative newcomers like La Maison Rouge and Modus Art Gallery and the vibrant street art in Paris’ Belleville neighborhood, there’s art to be found around every corner in The City of Light.

The Louvre Museum is one of the world’s largest museums and the most popular tourist destinations in France | © pichetw/Shutterstock

New York City, USA
Manhattan alone is enough to keep art mavens occupied for days with world-famous institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA and the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Guggenheim Museum – a work of art itself – alongside art gallery hotspots like Chelsea, but to ignore New York City’s other boroughs would be a crying shame. Head to Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood for street art and cutting-edge contemporary galleries showcasing emerging talents and don’t miss out on Queens for the Socrates Sculpture Garden and Queens Museum.

The Charles Engelhard Court in the American Wing of Metropolitan Museum of Art | © Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

Tokyo, Japan
While some cities may have more or less defined art districts, Tokyo’s differs in that its galleries are spread far and wide across the sprawling metropolis, but they’re certainly worth the trek. A good place to start is Roppongi – home to the Mori Art Museum, National Art Center and smaller spaces like Ota Fine Arts – while over in Taito, SCAI The Bathhouse, a contemporary gallery in a 200-year-old former public bathhouse, is one of Tokyo’s most prestigious art destinations.

São Paulo, Brazil
It might not boast the arty acclaim of Paris and New York, but Brazil’s sprawling megalopolis São Paulo is the art capital of Latin America. Beyond the venerable São Paulo Biennial, the world’s second oldest art biennial after Venice, the city is also home to the Museu de Arte Moderna where visitors can see modern and contemporary Brazilian art and a garden home to 30 outstanding sculptural works, while galleries like Choque Cultural offer a glimpse into local, emerging talents.

Continue reading HERE.

 

How geography designs the world’s economic policies

Image source: iaec-conference.com

The economic and political growth of every great civilization depended on their proximity and access to trade routes, mostly maritime, that helped their empire prosper for hundreds or thousands of years.  Compared to their non-coastal rivals, their strategic location had given them a natural boost to expand and protect their empire from several forces that caused the downfall of other, less-blessed nations.

History tells us that geography plays a vital role in understanding how our planet’s material character and spatial organization can contribute to a country’s political and economic development. The insights derived from this understanding can be greatly relevant especially to decisions and policy-makings involving trade, governance, and most importantly, the relationship and processes within the local and global economy.

This is why experts in the field have emphasized how consulting publications and related studies can give authorities awareness of problems and issues that policy-makers face today. By revealing the effects of the changing spatial organization, authorities are informed of present problems and alternative solutions that offer practical and long-term benefits.

Image source: geography.name

The number and specificity of policies and institutions of countries depend on where they are in the world and the climate that they have to endure. It’s natural and proper to strengthen environmental movements and environment-centered guidelines on countries located in the tropics where land is hostile and water is scarce. It’s also not a coincidence that the richest and most powerful nations in the world are located in the fertile, temperate and rainy European regions.

Experts have also readily identified the capacity of different regions to support modern economic growth and how specific locations can be at a disadvantage in terms of productivity from local and international trade.

China is a perfect example of nations that benefit from having a politically and economically strategic location because of its access to markets.  In fact, the nation is a home to three of the planet’s busiest and most hectic ports.

Lastly, specific geographical locations offer natural resources available for capitalization and because of the combined factors of both a nation’s position on the map and its climate, many countries have advantages over the others. Saudi Arabia and the UAE make their money from the natural supply of oil in their deserts while South Africa leads the world’s largest gold and diamond supply. Top of Form

Three emerging metropolises that will drive global growth in the future

Image source: foreignaffairs.com

The rise of global cities has provided a sturdy foundation for startups and entrepreneurs to seek greater heights, building a haven for companies and investors from all over the world with two important goals: create business opportunities and encourage technological innovations to grow and prosper not only for the present but also for the years to come.

As homes to the primary international leaders in knowledge and business, these mega cities serve as the melting pots of ideas, cultures and leading economic and technological advances. Some of these leaders come from the most powerful countries in the world like New York, London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo and they have topped charts and have been undefeated for consecutive years.

However, many cities are starting to follow their footsteps and are rapidly emerging as the new players in the global city rankings, thanks to their dynamic market and highly-skilled talent pool. Here they are:

Myanmar’s Yangon

Image source: businessinsider.com

This Southeast Asian city is the most populated region in Myanmar and analysts have observed that it has also one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Yangon’s vibrant and dynamic charm as a tourist destination isn’t the only thing to be celebrated about. Many investors have shown interest in this rising metropolis where culture and innovation blend perfectly well and the city, in response, opened up to foreign investments in 2011.

Nigeria’s Lagos

Image source: richtopia.com

As the largest city in Nigeria, Lagos holds the most number of population—making it a contender in the global economic race in terms of business and innovation. In fact, it has become a financial hub of the entire continent, alluring multination companies to its shores. Ironically, it’s not like its other counterparts because instead of being a business center, it’s actually a home to “Nolywood,” the region’s biggest film industry, making it a top entertainment hub in Africa.

Chile’s Santiago

Image source: landlopers.com

Santiago is an emerging startup hub in Chile and is one of the most important cities in South America. Reports have recorded a 600% increase in GDP from 1988 to 2017, thanks to a huge number of startups in Santiago. It’s ‘Chilecon Valley’ is a harbor for international entrepreneurs because of its diverse and talented population.

REPOST: The World’s Largest Oil Reserves By Country

For decades, Saudi Arabia has been the biggest producer of oil in the world, with Russia taking a hold of that title just this year. For proven oil reserves, however, Venezuela takes the top spot. Here is a ranking of the world’s 11 most oil-rich countries as listed by World Atlas:

Proven oil reserves are those that have a reasonable certainty of being recoverable under existing economic and political conditions, with existing technology.

The volatility in oil prices over the past decade has created plenty of concern for businesspeople, national governments, and global policy makers alike. With such uncertainty in pricing, coupled with environmental concerns as our world’s appetite for fossil fuels grows, the questions of whether there are enough petroleum oil reserves to satisfy demand, and what the consequences of its extraction will be, have never been more pertinent. In order to shed more light into a somewhat ambiguous subject, we have profiled the ten countries with the largest oil reserves in the world to help put their positions within the energy landscape into perspective. The volatility in oil prices over the past decade has created plenty of concern for governments and policy makers at the global stage. This lack of certainty, coupled with environmental concerns as the world grows ever more energy hungry, the question of whether there are enough petroleum oil reserves to satisfy the demand and what the consequences will be has never been more pertinent. In a bid to shed more light in this somewhat nebulous sector, we have profiled countries with the highest oil reserves in the world. These are the countries whose proven oil reserves are in the top 10 globally.

 

  1. United States – 36.52 Billion Barrels

U.S. oil reserves soared to new heights in recent years due to increased usage of unconventional drilling methods that enable extraction of more shale oil and gas than was previously possible. As a result of these, especially fracking and horizontal drilling, U.S. reserves surpassed 36 billion barrels in 2012 for the first time since 1975. Still, proven U.S. oil reserves are but a fraction of the reserves of the global petroleum leaders such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

 

  1. Nigeria – 37.07 Billion Barrels

Although Libya has more reserves, there were 37.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves in Nigeria, ranking the country as the largest oil producer in Africa and the 10th largest in the world. At current rates this would be 45 years of supply if no new oil was found. Pipeline vandalism, kidnappings, and militant takeover of oil facilities have reduced production. The Oil industry accounts for about 14% of Nigeria’s economy.

 

  1. Libya – 48.36 Billion Barrels

Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa, and the tenth largest globally. It has the potential to have a greater reserve of fossil fuel than we currently know of, as it remains largely unexplored as a result of past sanctions against foreign oil companies. Libyan oil accounted for 98% of government revenue in 2012 but, due to recent political instability, Libya’s power as an oil producer has been significantly hampered. Eventually it is expected that untapped oil reserves will foster more economic investment as the political situation stabilizes.

 

  1. United Arab Emirates – 97.8 Billion Barrels

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) sources most of its oil from the Zakum field, which has an estimated 66 billion barrels, making it the third largest oil field in the region, behind only Ghawar Field (Saudi Arabia) and Burgan Field (Kuwait. Roughly 40 per cent of the country’s GDP is based on oil and gas output and, since its discovery there in 1958, has enabled the UAE to become a modern state with a high standard of living.

 

  1. Russia – 103.2 Billion Barrels

#6 Russia – 103.2 Billion Barrels – The World’s Largest Oil Reserves By Country

Russia is a country filled with natural resources for energy use, most notably the country’s massive oil reserves under the vast Siberian plains. Russian oil output fell considerably after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, but the country has revamped production in the past few years. The nation may further boost its reserves of oil and gas in the future as exploration continues beneath its holdings of arctic waters and ice.

 

  1. Kuwait – 104 Billion Barrels

To be such a small country in terms of land area, Kuwait holds more than a fair share of the world’s petroleum oil reserves. Over 5 bbl of reserves lie within the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone which Kuwait shares with Saudi Arabia, while over 70 billion barrels of Kuwaiti oil are in the Burgan field, the second largest oil field in the world.

 

See the full list HERE.

These non-sovereign territories are the havens of the super-rich

Most of us admire the most powerful countries around the world and how they were able to maintain their status as top sovereign nations in terms of their economic prowess, diplomatic relations, and strong political influence. However, while having a competitive economy and friendly ties among other countries can contribute to both wealth and power for any sovereign nation, there are other regions that greatly thrive in autonomy. These non-sovereign territories or dependencies don’t fall behind especially when it comes to wealth and robust economy.

Image source: nyt.com

The Basque Country for instance, is one of Spain’s autonomous regions and it ranks first in terms of per capita income. Although self-governing, this non-sovereign territory is one of the first Spanish industrialized region, thanks to the abundance of iron ore and a highly-skilled workforce. What makes it different and extremely wealthy compared to other territories like Catalonia for example is how it was able to maintain its industrial economy’s diversity, focusing more on the long-term economic boost and investing greatly on human capital.

Image source: europeanceo.com

Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, derives its wealth from being a world-class and tax-neutral offshore financial center. In 2014, it was reported that a total of $31 billion was held by over a hundred ultra-high-net-worth individuals living in the territory, most of which entrust their wealth to some of the island’s top financial managers, such as LOM Financial. In the same year, it was included in the “A List Islands” for the super-rich because of its attractively “rare and exclusive” nature over its mainland counterpart. Bermuda is also a favorite playground among yachting enthusiasts. In fact, it just recently hosted the 35th staging of the America’s Cup.

Image source: BBC

Another non-sovereign territory that’s topping the list of the wealthiest autonomous regions in the world is Macau, also known as the “Las Vegas of Asia.” From this nickname alone, you’ll get the idea why tourism flourished in this leisure and gambling capital. The impressive fact is, it’s making more cash from its casinos than its American counterpart. In fact, the gambling industry in Macau is seven times bigger than that of Las Vegas.  Furthermore, Macau is a haven for luxurious hotels, casinos, and studios.

REPOST: 10 Countries Doing the Most to Fight Climate Change

Although climate change affects every corner of the planet, not all countries are active and involved enough to mitigate its potentially catastrophic effects. Below is a list of nations working the hardest to keep the Earth healthy and green (source: Condé Nast Traveler).

 

On June 1, President Donald Trump announced that the United States will pull out of the Paris Agreement, a 2015 deal to curb carbon emissions, invest in green technology, and take other steps to combat the existential threat of climate change. Following the announcement, countries like France and Canada reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement, while more than 80 mayors of cities across the U.S. announced they would continue to follow the guidelines agreed upon two years ago. With President Trump’s decision, the United States joins a small club: Nicaragua and Syria are the only other countries not a part of the Paris Agreement.

 

As the U.S. retreats from its commitments, other parts of the world continue to lead the way toward a greener future. Counting down from 13, these are the top-performing countries, according to the 2017 Climate Change Performance Index, an annual study from the think tank Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network Europe, which looks at how the world’s top 58 carbon emitters—together responsible for 90 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions–are taking on climate change. Eco-travelers take note: These places deserve your tourist dollars this year.

 

  1. Denmark

After leading the rankings for five consecutive years, Denmark slipped significantly in the latest index, in part, the researchers say, due to a reversal of a number of environmentally friendly policies. The country is still among the better performing nations when it comes to saving the planet, but policy changes like a decision to invest in highways rather than electrified railroads (as the government had previously promised) means it took a hit this year. As pressure from environmentally-minded citizens heats up, expect one or two more vandalized statues.

 

  1. Belgium

Overall, as this list will show, the European Union is a good place for you to settle down if environmental-friendliness is part of your criteria—and as the headquarters of the EU, Belgium has a duty of sorts to lead by example. Coordination between a complicated federal political system divided by regions is a challenge, but the country as a whole is committed to the EU’s target to cut 1990 carbon emission levels by 20 percent by 2020—and has started by shutting down the last of its coal-powered power plants.

 

  1. Portugal

Just seven years ago, Portugal was hit by an economic recession that led to record unemployment. As part of its recovery, the country put into place progressive policies that encouraged local arts and rejuvenated its decaying architecture. Along with a focus on the country’s creatives, the Portuguese government has also focused on creating green jobs and revamping its energy system—and it’s paid off. A government-led “Commitment to Green Growth” sees the country promoting the “low-carbon economy” and investing in sustainability efforts across industries and territories; policies which helped Portugal jump up seven spots year-over-year in the index.

 

See the full list HERE.

Leading countries in building ‘smart cities’

Innovation and sustainability: these two key factors have shaped some of the smartest cities around the world to embrace the future by taking on a more holistic yet inventive approach to building communities, bolstering the economy, streamlining industrial activities, improving public services, and responding to the demands of a high-tech driven population today and in the future.

Creating smart cities was once a vision for technology companies to offer more products and services to consumers in a growing urban setting. However, leaders of these cities started redefining what a “smart city” should be and it led to a more modernized way of how a technologically competitive urban community should holistically respond to the needs of its growing population. How? Let’s take a look at the leading countries in building smart cities to answer that question.

Singapore

Image source: asiagreenbuildings.com

This island-city state has been named the world’s ‘smartest city’ in many occasions because of its Smart Nation Platform that aims to collect millions of data from a nationwide sensor network. In addition to that, a remarkably 98 percent of government services can be accessed online while its mobile apps-friendly systems have improved transport, health, and municipal services.

Spain

Image source: photodeck.com

The country is world-famous not only because of its classical art and majestic ruins but also for its beautiful Barcelona, dubbed as the most wired city in the world. This is because of its impressive computer system fitted to lampposts that can measure traffic levels, crowds, road pollution and last but not the least—the number of photos of specific streets posted on Instagram, thanks to the sensors installed in every part of the city.

United Kingdom

Image source: bnet.com

England’s London has made it to several ‘smart city’ rankings in the past and even if it continues to grow and age, it has been recognized for its pioneering use of open data, the London DataStore, to create and champion innovative solutions to solve the city’s challenges in urban development and tourism management. These resulted in the birth of smart solutions like transport apps, population and demographic projections, interactive maps, and many more.

The top countries in innovation economics

In the past, a country’s economic growth was defined by two key indicators: first, how the market responds to price signals depending on the supply and demand curves; second, how the government effectively allocates its resources. However, everything changed when technology came into the picture and eventually gave birth to what we now know as innovation economics—dramatically shifting the focus of societies around the world.

 

Image source: businessdestinations.com

 

Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and some countries are leading the list of the world’s most innovative economies. This year, the 2017 Bloomberg Innovation Index just named the dominating nations in the annual battle of ideas.

 

South Korea maintained its number one spot in the international chart, dominating the ranks in Research and Development Intensity, patent activity, and value-added manufacturing. The country was also included in the top 5 ranking in higher education and research concentration, and high-tech density.

 

Sweden’s success to secure No. 2 can be credited to its improvement on the manufacturing value added metric. It’s Nordic cousin, Finland, did an impressive advance when it cracked into the top 5, thanks to the rise of high-technology firms in the country. Israel, meanwhile, made it to the top ten—a one rank progress from its No. 11 spot in 2016.

 

Image source: chief-exec.com

 

Although the technology giant Japan lost its No. 4 spot to Switzerland and moved down to the seventh rank, the 2017 index shows that it still remains one of the top five countries for productivity and tertiary efficiency. Germany, Switzerland, and Singapore took the third, fourth and sixth spot, respectively,

 

To see the full ranking list, click here.

REPOST: How to fix climate change: put cities, not countries, in charge

Addressing global environmental crises such as pollution and climate change may be best done on a local level. This article on The Guardian explains why it is high time for cities and similar administrative units to take on greater roles in catalyzing drives toward environmental preservation and sustainability.

 

Illustration by Jasper Rietman

 

Climate change is the most urgent challenge facing humankind. Other issues make headlines: terrorism kills; inequality affects everyday life for billions around the globe. But climate is paramount, because in sustainability human survival itself is at stake. Why then have the nations governing the planet been so hopelessly ineffective in addressing the grave environmental crisis?

 

Is it because the consequences of carbon emissions seem hypothetical, or too far off? Politicians pay few costs for doing nothing, and receive little credit for acting aggressively. In the US, a nation that contributes one-fifth of all global greenhouse emissions (China is responsible for another fifth), Donald Trump has promised to reopen coal mines and free up oil drilling.

 

The problem isn’t the science. The merchants of doubt who claim there is a climate science that is open to scientific debate are not scientific adversaries at all. They are political adversaries, mostly bought and paid for. It is in the realm of politics that the struggle for sustainability must be fought and won.

 

Politics is hardly at its best right now, and that is perhaps the greatest challenge facing us. The weakness of politics undermines democracy – the faith behind politics. But democracy is crucial because climate change is also about justice: how to distribute the costs of decarbonisation and the transition to renewable energy fairly among rich and poor, developed and developing, large and small, north and south.

 

This politics can’t be found in increasingly dysfunctional nation states. The good news about the attempt to address climate change through government action is that it’s happening. The bad news is that it’s happening far too slowly. For every new hydroelectric plant built in the global north, some enormous lake dries up in the global south – Poopó, Bolivia’s second largest, has literally vanished over the last few years.

 

Continue reading HERE.

The world in peril: More cities succumbing to climate change

One of the main drivers of climate change is human activity. Industrial plants, car fumes, and all sorts of wastes just keep on accumulating at an alarming rate. It is no surprise that for the past couple of years, climate change has accelerated. More and more instances of extreme weather are being observed in many settlements, including capital cities and major metropolitan areas. That’s why some governments are actively putting in the work to increase their resilience. These regions include Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary. However, some cities aren’t so lucky.

 

One of the most vulnerable cities to environmental inconsistencies is Jakarta, Indonesia. Urbanization and land utilization are already almost maxed out, which translates into an distressing increase in carbon dioxide emissions and deforestation. Furthermore, its geographical proximity to the ocean makes it highly susceptible to the rising sea levels. Floods are already a recurrent problem. Incurred losses could easily reach beyond $500,000, affecting both farming and fishing livelihoods.

 

Image source: time.com

 

Another area which is prone to Mother Nature’s wrath is Dhaka, Bangladesh. Since it is one of the biggest deltaic regions in the world, the rising sea level and increased rainfall will make it highly vulnerable to flooding. As a matter of fact, as much as 80 percent of the area could be submerged in water.

 

Back in 2010, Mumbai, India, experienced its highest rainfall density in a span of 24 hours. More than 700 lives perished in the flood that submerged the busy city. Property damage was estimated to be at $68 million. With incidences like these occurring more often, a lifestyle check is in order.

 

Image source: inhabitat.com

 

Climate change can have massive impacts on various sectors, eventually leading to economic collapse and human peril. It can drive various health problems (including malaria, diarrhea, and leptospirosis outbreaks), displacement due to floods and sea-level rise, large-scale property damage, biodiversity loss, widespread famine, and even dents on stock markets. The total costs of all these impacts have been found to be enormous, costing the world more than $1.2 trillion a year and wiping 1.6 percent annually from global GDP. This is one of the reasons many companies and governments have been very active in promoting green technologies and in promoting environmentally friendly industrial and household activities to lessen, slow down, or even completely eradicate the potential hazards climate change can bring.