A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, what happened to the Ukrainians who fled to Russia, how the sun is both our creator and destroyer (27:56), and how magicians won the attention economy (34:32).
For the past three decades, China has been furiously turning farmland into instant cities, transforming a heavily agrarian society into one with nearly 64 percent of its population now urbanized. In recent years, though, affluent Chinese have started to rediscover their culture’s deep roots in the countryside and the lure of the nation’s often dramatic landscapes. Architects like Ma Yansong, who founded MAD Architects in Beijing in 2004, are now busy exploring new ways of connecting the constructed environment to the natural one. Ma often talks of his notions of shanshui culture, referring to the Chinese words for “mountain” and “water” and to design inspired by a reverence for earth and sky. Yet his approach is anything but traditional. Instead, it aims to reinvent nature—for example, crafting an opera house in Harbin to look as if it were sculpted by wind and water and calling a 5 million-square-foot residential complex in Beihai with rolling roofs Fake Hills.
A tilt-shift timelapse short film in Odessa, Ukraine filmed in Summer of 2021 by Little Big World.
Odessa is a port city on the Black Sea in southern Ukraine. It’s known for its beaches and 19th-century architecture, including the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater. The monumental Potemkin Stairs, immortalized in “The Battleship Potemkin,” lead down to the waterfront with its Vorontsov Lighthouse. Running parallel to the water, the grand Primorsky Boulevard is a popular promenade lined with mansions and monuments.
Finland debates whether to put a stop to Russian tourist visas. Plus: Senegal goes to the polls amid a crackdown on the opposition, a flick through the day’s papers, and a round-up of climate news.
Russia has turned Europe’s largest nuclear power plant into a fortress, stymying Ukraine’s forces and unnerving locals who fear both shelling and a radiation leak.