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CLARIN

Urban Planners Find Smart Design In Argentine Shantytowns

Planning experts from Denmark and the U.S. tasked with redesigning a Buenos Aires shantytown were surprised by some of its built-in people-friendly dynamics, which can be applied elsewhere — even in upscale projects

Villa 31 is a poor district of Buenos Aires
Villa 31 is a poor district of Buenos Aires
Miguel Jurado

BUENOS AIRES — International city planning experts invited to reform and rebuild Villa 31, a poor district of Buenos Aires, stumbled on a basic feature they didn't expect: cheerful living conditions despite the poverty. The panel of experts advised city authorities not to bulldoze away the conditions that make it possible. Moreover, there is an opportunity to replicate the dynamics of Villa 31 elsewhere.

The specialists from Denmark's Gehl Consulting were struck by the vitality on the streets of Villa 31 and its intensively sustainable mobility — mostly, lots of walking — compared to some of the city's well-to-do districts. It is "one of Buenos Aires's most interesting neighborhoods," says a Gehl report from January, with the "scale of medieval European settlements attracting thousands of tourists. It has the city life sought in cities like New York and Melbourne."

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Economy

Fried And Drizzled: Soaring Cooking Oil Prices Spark New Ethical Questions

The price of cooking oils and fats has gone up dramatically. Indonesia has even banned exports of palm oil. Suddenly, what type of oil and how we use it to fry foods, dress salads and process products has become an ever more important question.

Emergency cooking oil packs in Kendari, Indonesia, on April 14

Cosima Lutz

-Analysis-

BERLIN — In July 1940, 74 Swiss soldiers sat down to a meal of fried bread and cheese. Afterwards, they suffered severe – in some cases, irreversible – paralysis. The men, who became known as the “oil soldiers,” suffered from the after-effects their entire lives. They could not have known that the cooks had inadvertently added a poisonous machine gun coolant to the frying pans. The mineral oil mixed with tricresyl phosphate looked and tasted no different from standard cooking oil.

Humans and machines both need oil, but it’s not always clear from the look or taste which kind of oil should be used for which purpose. As long as there is enough cooking oil on supermarket shelves, discerning chefs make their choice based on taste, healthiness and environmental impact. Now, concerns around production, prices and health implications mean that, more than ever before, the choice of cooking oil is taking on a moral dimension.

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