Targeting influencers for long-term change

RELATED: Advertising aims to interrupt our thinking
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HEURISTICS: They’re the mental shortcuts our brains take.

The automatic thoughts we have, when presented with an issue –regardless oflogic or accuracy.

They take us to a place where we have pre-conceived beliefs or ideas, and block us from looking beyond them.

And, they get in the way. They’re the tricky mindsets difficult to navigate around – often, wrong and sometimes damaging.

It’s no easy feat to shift ourmindset.

But an advertisingcampaign rolled out across the nation in recent weeks, aims to do just that.

It aims to interrupt ourthinking –and those behind it make no apology for wanting to get inside our heads.

Because to do so, could just lead to social change.

A change that saves lives.

The researchBy now, most have seen the graphic and confronting advertisement on our television screens.

There’s a little boy, who slams a door on a little girl at a birthday party. Her mother excuses the boy,saying he only did that ‘because he likes you’. That sets the scene for what happens at the end of the 60-second ad,where the father is yelling at the mother untilshe trips andfalls over. He hovers her, he is threatening. She is fearful. Then he reverts back to being the little boy.

Julie Oberin, chief executive of Annie North Women’s Refuge and member of the Council of Australian Governments advisory panelto reduce violence against women, says that’s“what will happen if we don’t nip it in the bud, if we don’t stop it with the attitudes in younger children, that’s what it ends up’’.

The Council of Australian Governments agreed in2015 to take ‘urgent collective action’ to reduce violence against women and their children and the panel was appointed to assist with this work.

Chaired by former Victoria Police chief commissioner, Ken Lay, and includingFounder of the Luke Batty Foundation and 2015 Australian of the Year,Rosie Batty, and the chief executiveof Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, Heather Nancarrow,the group was asked to assess current approaches by all governmentsto addressing violence and put forward recommendations for theNational Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

The panelprovided its third and final report to COAG in April, this year.

Julie saysthe group found that‘despite a lot of good work, rates of violence against women in Australia were unacceptably high’.

Among a list of agreed outcomes was an advertising campaign, based on COAG commissioned research.

The research shows disturbing and shockingattitudes amongchildren and that from avery young age, many of us learn to condone or excuse disrespectful or aggressive behaviour towards girls and women.

Some of the research findings include:

young people begin to believe there are reasons and situations that can make disrespectful behaviour acceptable;girls blame themselves, questioning whether the trigger for the behaviour is potentially their fault, rather than questioning the behaviour of the male;boys blame others, particularly the female, and deflect personal responsibility telling each other it was a bit of a joke – it didn’t mean anything;adults accept the behaviour when they say ‘it takes two to tango’ or ‘boys will be boys’The research included data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey, which found thereare clear differences in the way violence is experienced by gender, andtheThe 2013 National Community Attitudes Survey.

The community attitudes survey found many believethere are circumstances in which violence can be excused, with two in five people agreeing rape results from men not being able to control their need for sex, one in five believingdomestic violence can be excused if people get so angry they lose control. and one in five sayingdomestic violence can be excused if the violent person regrets it.

Italso found half agree most women could leave a violent relationship if they really wanted to,one in six agree domestic violence is a private matter to be handled in the family and one in 10agree it’s a woman’s duty to stay in a violent relationship to keep the family together.

Of particular concern, were the findings among young people –which showed:

Half (47%) of youth males and one third (34%) of youth females do not agree that ‘trying to control by denying your partner money’ is a form of partner violence / violence against women. One quarter (24%) of youth males and one in eight (13%) youth females do not agree that ‘controlling social life by preventing your partner seeing family and friends’ is a form of partner violence / violence against women. One in five (21%) youth males and one in seven (14%) youth females do not agree that ‘repeatedly criticising to make partner feel bad / useless’ is a form of partner violence / violence against women. Three in five (60%) youth agree that ‘violence against women is common’.The authors of the COAG researchnoted that while thereis ‘strong community support for the cessation of extreme violence against women’ thebarrier to achieving such change was ‘low recognition of the heart of the issue and where it begins.

WRONG MESSAGE: The girl’s mother tells her, “He just did it ’cause he likes you.”

The issue:The heart of the issue is the linkbetween violence towards women, and attitudes of disrespect and gender inequality.

The report states:These attitudes are unconscious, yet firmly entrenched, among many Australian adults and children. And as adults we are allowing young people to develop these attitudes from an early age. Often unknowingly, we are perpetuating the problem. Before community change can be achieved, therefore, people will first need to recognise the problem, and our personal role.

It found there are three dominant heuristics we make when faced with the issue of violence against women, and they need to be recognised for change to occur.

Victim blaming: When presented with a hypothetical scenario of disrespectful behaviour, there are consistently high levels of automatic victim blaming. As a result, many young males externalise the behaviour by blaming others, and many young females internalise the experience by blaming themselves.Minimisation: Many actions that signify inequality, disrespectful and aggressive behaviour are considered by adults as social misdemeanours rather than behaviours that should be corrected and modified.Empathy with male: There is a strong desire to avoid blaming males, and a sense that participating in these behaviours is a rite of passage that should be understood rather than addressed. There is little empathy towards the female experience.We are taught to make mental short cuts, Julie says.

“It’s not taught at schoolas part of every day learning, we see our parents do it, we see it on TV, we see all of these mental shortcuts and we make them ourselves.Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re not and in this case they’re not.

“What the research shows quite clearly and quite disturbingly isthat the general population when it’s faced with a situation of seeing violence against women happening, they do three things.

“They blame the victim; they minimise the behaviour and the third was they justify the abuse or excuse the perpetrator in some way.

“So,the research was groundbreaking in that it showed those three heuristics, those three mental shortcuts which are held by the majority of the population in Australia and in other countries in the world.

“That’s what they do when they see violence against women, rather than not blame the victim, hold the perpetrator to account and see the assault or the abuse for what it is.’’

Julie saysAustralia has some of the most credible research in the world in relation to violence against women, and we need to respectthat.

The research includesthe ABSpersonal safety survey, the Women’s Health Longitudinal Study, the National Community Attitudes survey, ANROWS research andOur Watch resources.

“The research is absolutely rigorous and you can’t dispute it but some peopledon’t want to listen to the evidence and they are programmed to make these mental shortcuts which colludes with the perpetrator and continues to abuse the woman in her situation and doesn’t stop this gender based violence against women from happening,’’ she says.

“So these ads were designed with that in mind, to interrupt the cognitive process, those mental shortcuts –that’s why the ad says stop it before it starts

“And it starts with young people. This is is not just about physical violence, this is about every day sexism, this is about the way women and girls are treated, this is theway we blame victims, this is the way we excuse the perpetrators.

“These attitudes are entrenched culturally through society because we still have patriarchal values which are embedded through all parts of society that men are decision makers, leaders, important, more valuable than women and girls are and that the masculinities that are held up as being good masculinities are actually quite negative masculinities for both men and for women.

“The cultural attitudes are really embedded down and have been for a very very long time and community education campaigns themselves haven’t been working because just educating or raising awareness isn’t enough, it hasn’tbeen enough to make change systematically across the whole society, it’s made some changes in some people and some families but as far as the population goes it hasn’t.’’

There is no easy solution to interruptingthose thoughts, but there are some approaches worth trying.

DON’T THROW LIKE A GIRL: The ad includes a man saying this to a young boy, which Julie Oberin says puts down girls as being inferior and that real boys, real men, don’t have any attribute of a female about them. “This is quite unfortunate because females have got good stereotypical attributes like nurturing, tenderness and kindness”. “The look on the little girl’s face says ‘’I know what you just said to that boy, I’m not as good as him and i never will be because I’m a girl’.”

What can we do?One solution? To target the influencers of young people.

The research found the major influencers in a young person’s life are those in coaching positions, followed by fathers, older brothers, older sisters, then mothers.

That makes sense, Julie says, as “women haven’t got as much status in society so they don’t have as much influence on young people as what men do, and older brothers have more influence than older sisters’’.

“The interesting thing about the research is the influence coaches have and we know that because they can be mentors and they can be change agents for young people …there’s a lot of opportunity for them to influence young people in a good way because they do have that influencing power –not just coaches of sport, but any coach-like person, so a teacher, or a ballet instructor, any type of coach person.

“The ads … try and change the beliefs and attitudes of the influencers who can then start to change the messages and the attitudes of the younger generation aged from 10 to 19.

“They decided to target 10 to 19 because after the age of19, males show up overwhelmingly in statistics around assaults, so around normal assaults and family assaults.

“The reason why the government targeted the 10-19 year olds is to get them before they get to that age, to try and interrupt the cultural transmission of beliefs and attitudes.’’

The advertisements, which also include print media, are more than a campaign –they’re designed to create social change.

“When Iobserved the focus groups Irealised how hard it was,’’ Julie says.

The first focus group includedmiddle-aged and older men, who had sons aged between 10and 19. The second group includedyounger men with brothers aged between 10and 19.

“The older men didn’t get it, they did the mental short cuts –they blamed the woman, they excused or justified or said she must have done something,’’ Julie says.

“The older brotherstotally got it and they werethe same messages …they started to have a bit of an epiphany about their whole role in this and they didn’t want their younger brother to grow up with those attitudes and they didn’t realise they were complicit in helping it by not challenging it and not seeing it.

“You do have to worry because those ads do get streamed into people’s lounge rooms …and it’s goingto have adifferent impact on different members of the family and there will be some risk.

“There will be increased reporting, increased resistance from women, there might be increased control or violence from the perpetrator, there might be children feeling a bit funny about it.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen but we do know that it worked for that age cohort of those older brothers and a lot of those might be in a coaching situation as well, so if it works for some group that’s a start –if they’re a major influence of young people, it’s worth the risk of trying to get something right, to try and get the attitudes changed.’’

Our behaviourJulie says we should all reflect on our own behaviour and how we make our own mental short cuts.

Acknowledging it is sometimes difficult to know how to intervene, particularly when physical abuse is involved, Julie says it’s important not to be silent.

“Ifyou see something serious say something, because sometimes the victim needs someone else to intervene,’’ she says.

“The easiest way for the community to make change is to be reflective about their thinking when they think about violence against women and think about the mental short cuts they’re making.

“Are they blaming the victim? Are they justifying his behaviour? Are they minimising his behaviour?

“We see it all the time, so if people can start to reflect about their own responses and also to challenge the everyday sexism and the everyday misogyny and hate speech that we see and jokes that we see about women and girls.

“If you don’t get rid of that you don’t get rid of that sexist and rape culture which enables sexual assault and violence to flourish.

“It might not seemimportant and people have said ‘it’s only a bit of fun’ but it’s actually not – many people can’t see the link between sexism and violence against women.

“I think Australia has got this very matey culture of masculinity and it’s all in good fun and you shouldn’t take it seriously, but if you look at what women have to say when they wear the brunt of it, and how they have to live their lives every day and all the things they have to think about and do to keep themselves safe just in case, and how they feel when they’re objectified, people need to really think about that from their shoes.’’

Gender equalityTo achieve social change, we need both formal and substantive gender equality through transformative social and cultural change–and we haven’t achieved either, Julie says.

“Formal gender equality,which we haven’t got yet andneed to strive for,that’s where we reduce the gender pay gap, we have equal pay for equal work, which we say we have but we don’t, you have an equal number of men and women on boards and in leadership positions in parliament, you start to challenge and disrupt the gender segregated workforces.

“That’s formal equality, and we need that –but it’s not sufficient in itself and we know that by looking at the Scandinavian countries, where they have a lot higher gender equality than we do and they still have violence against women.

“What we have to get is transformative change –we’ve still got to deal with the sexism, and the misogyny, and the stereotypes, and if you don’t do that gender equality is not the solution, not enough.

“You can pass laws that say women have equal rights, you can pass laws which say non-white people, Aboriginal people or African American people have equal rights and you can pass laws against racism and so forth, but it doesn’t get rid of racism.

“You can have a black American president and still have racism –and so having the laws is important, and they need to be there, but you have got to change the attitudes otherwise you never really achieve transformative gender equality.

“It’s not ever about women being in charge, it’s just about being equal.’’

Where to from here?Our Watch chairNatashaStott Despoja saysAustralia is facinga national emergencyon family violence.

“The statistics are chilling …the death toll keeps climbing.

“In 2015, 79 women were murdered. The majority of those victims were killed by a male family member. We are in crisis and it needs to be addressed.’’

The COAG panel has recommended all commonwealth, state and territory governments commit to a long-term national primary prevention strategy.

Julie says social change takes decades, so the messages and the interruptions into the way people think, need to happen“for at least a decade, maybe two’’.

“And that needs to be entrenched through everywhere where people live their lives –workplaces, sporting clubs, schools, community clubs, everywhere and not just on TV and short term ads, that’s the challenge for government,’’ she says.

“They need to be consistent and brave enough to continue this interruption of what has become entrenched community attitudes, which enable violence against women to flourish.

“We need to keep applying pressure on the government to make sure they don’t stop that, because they lose an amazing opportunity to dosomething no one in the world has ever done.

“Acampaign like this, this is not a community awareness campaign, it’s a social change campaign around violence against women –we’ve done it with seat belts, we’ve done it with littering, no one in the world has done it regarding violence against women in such a sophisticated manner.

“But itrelies on Australian governments to fund it.’’

For more information, visitwww.respect.gov.au

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assaultor family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visitwww.1800RESPECT上海龙凤419.au. In an emergency, phone000

Newcastle:A friendly destination for oldies in their RVs

HAVE you noticed all the superannuated old farts driving self-contained recreational vehicles (RVs) around this gorgeous nation on their ski*tours?
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You probably haven’t if you rarely leave Newcastle. As a city, we’ve done nothing to welcome them. The tourism gurus in Newcastle have largely focused on attracting the top-end-of-town and bunging them into flash hotels. Little attention and no welcome has been extended to the bring-your-own mob and that is a lost opportunity. It’s also ironic given the national office of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia is based at Wickham.

But that may be about to change.

Among the papers for tomorrow night’s Newcastle City Council meeting sits a notice of motion from Greens councillors Osborne and Doyle. Item-7 on page 137 is a proposal for Newcastle to become an official RV friendly town or destination. Whether we list as a town or destination depends on the ability to meet specific criteria, with ‘town’ requiring the provision of more facilities than ‘destination’.

More politely known as grey nomads or the RV (relaxing vacation) set, at this time of year – in fact during much of the year, except during thesummer months when they surrender the humid highways to the crassness of the Wicked campers and Griswold-like families undertaking tours-of-duty to the Goldy – the New England, Pacific, Newell and Hume motorways are chockers with the species as it makes its way north to warmer climes.

It’s now as much part of the Aussie bucket list psyche as buying jousting sticks and complaining about referees. Retire, get the machine, fit-it-out and just take off for no other reason than to have a relaxed optic nerve and abandon the routines of the schedule slave.

And some of these recreational vehicles are not modest like the caravan sauna gulags I remember being forced to endure as a kid. Some are luxury apartments on wheels – shower, loo, bedroom, kitchen, lounge-room, satellite tele and sound systems that you can turn up to 11.

So, what’s in it for Newcastle and what do we have to do to get us some of that sweet RV coin?

Figures quoted by the Campervan and Motorhome Club indicate that members of the RV community in Australia spend an average of $100 per day while travelling.

If Newcastle goes for the higher-level accreditation, we must provide appropriate parking within the town centre (lol) with access to a general shopping area; provide short term, low cost overnight parking for 24/48 hours as close as possible to the CBD, access to potable water and a free dump point at an appropriate location.

Perhaps, given the above criteria, it is more likely we can achieve the designation of an RV friendly destination. That category requires the provision of short term, low cost overnight parking for 24/48 hours for self-contained RVs, the parking area needs to be on a solid, level surface and there must be enough room for large vehicles to manoeuvre.

The hard sell is managing any increase in visits by non self-contained RVs (no more poos in the bushes at the dog beach thanks very much) and convincing locals that the RVs can resist the urge to stay in our beautiful city for more than short periods.

*Ski- spending kids inheritance (no apostrophe, because the inheritance does not belong to the kids).

Twitter @paul_scott_ or [email protected]上海龙凤419m

NBN: Do Australians even care about the FTTP v FTTN debate?

Faster internet, fostering a vibrant digital economy and future-proofing a vital communications resource seem to only resonate with the tech savvy. Photo: ShutterstockSince the National Broadband Network (NBN) was first announced, it has stirred up debate among politicians, technology experts and the specialist press about which technologies will best serve the nation.
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Should we (allegedly) spend more tax payers’ dollars for a superior fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) model that will pay off in the future? Should we stick to the fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) approach doggedly pushed by our current government? Or is something in-between required?

It seems illogical to be opposed to the “best” technology, but most Australians — the very people the NBN is being built for — simply don’t care.

There is no doubt in my mind that FTTN is an outdated model for the NBN and that we’re better off going full fibre with FTTP or FTTdp. Many of my peers who are in the IT industry or have an interest in technology tend to agree and they are active in sharing content on social media that supports FTTP.

Recently, a friend of mine shared a pro-FTTP Facebook post and one of his acquaintances came out of the woodwork to shoot it down, saying that the NBN is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Naturally, other people jumped into the debate trying to convince this individual that FTTP NBN will do wonders for the Australian economy and all that jazz but that person would not budge on her beliefs.

It was a frustrating sight, especially when you know the technology is sound and it will genuinely be better than FTTN in the long run. But when it comes to convincing NBN detractors, talking about how great fibre technology is feels like beating a dead horse that’s already covered in maggots.

People tend to gravitate towards those who share the same ideology as themselves. That’s how cliques form in high school and why our Facebook feed are full of content from our friends that reverberate our own thoughts about certain topics.

Faster internet, fostering a vibrant digital economy and future-proofing a vital communications resource seem to only resonate with the technology savvy individuals, experts and forward-thinking business people.

It sounds absurd to hear Australia’s Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne say that “[people] simply didn’t need the speeds that Labor was promising” with its original FTTP NBN plan. Yet, it is something that many Australians agree with.

You have publications like the Herald Sun claiming that “[it] is all very well to promise geeks download speeds of 1 gigabyte, not much use if they have to wait until 2030 to get them … The evidence from the MTM-NBN to date is that most people don’t particularly want speeds much above 25Mbps — which they will get totally from the MTM-NBN; and they certainly don’t want to pay for them”.

Again, this all sounds ridiculous and short-sighted but there are people who read these articles and nod in agreement. Those people probably don’t care that Australia’s internet speed rankings have slipped compared to the rest of the world.

Us “geeks” can beat the drum about the benefits of an FTTP NBN but it seems the noise is only heard by those who already support it. Focusing on what technology is better and comparing FTTP and FTTN won’t change people’s minds or votes. Many people don’t understand and, to some degree, don’t want to understand how broadband technology works. Why should they have to care about the intricacies of the invisible wires that serve them this intangible thing called the internet, regardless of what technology experts say?

That is why the political rhetoric on the NBN has shifted from what is better for the future to how much it would ultimately cost. Labor’s message has changed from “let us invest a lot of money to build a brighter future with FTTP” to “we’ll build a better NBN and it will only be a fraction more expensive than the one the Coalition is currently rolling out”. The party talks about FTTP but makes it clear that it won’t be at the same scale as Labor’s first iteration of the NBN which was much more ambitious.

Both of the major political parties are now trying to claim that their NBN will be more cost effective.

On a recent episode of Q&A, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed the Coalition is “rolling [the NBN] out literally six to eight years sooner and $30 billion cheaper than would have been the case under Labor’s plan” (a questionable figure). Meanwhile, former NBN chief executive Mike Quigley launched a scathing attack on the Coalition’s FTTN and mixed technology strategy claiming it will cost taxpayers more in the long run due to complexities in managing this model.

I’ll continue to personally support a full-fibre solution for the NBN. As Quigley aptly puts it: “A NBN based on FTTP was, and still is, the right answer for Australia’s broadband needs”. But sometimes it feels like I’m screaming into the void.

I dare say most of the people who read these pages do have an understanding of NBN technologies and see the value of FTTP. Is there a better way for us “geeks” to get the message across to the wider public? Let us know in the comments. is your expert guide on how to get things done and do everything better.

AFL Round 14: Crows vs Kangaroosphotos

AFL Round 14: Crows vs Kangaroos | photos Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images
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Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

Scenes from the Crows-Hawks clash at Adelaide Oval on June 23, 2016. Pic: Getty Images

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Ten great overlooked cities within an hour of big-ticket destinations

Ruins of the Mayan fortress and temple near Tulum, Mexico Photo: iStockSometimes you don’t have to venture too far from one of the world’s great tourist magnets to find something less lauded, but equally compelling in a rather different way. Take these ten unjustly under the radar destinations, for example… Fort Lauderdale
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Big ticket neighbour: Miami, Florida

If Florida has an equivalent of the Gold Coast, Fort Lauderdale is it. Popular with both families and rowdy students at the end of the school year, Lauderdale also has miles of sandy beaches and a massive network of waterways. The latter are lined with lavishly expensive houses, and cruises go past, spilling all the salacious gossip about the multi-millionaire home owners. It’s a place that can make you very jealous very quickly if you don’t just throw yourself into the bling-flinging. See sunny上海龙凤419.

See: What to do in Fort LauderdalePadua

Big ticket neighbour: Venice, Italy

In equal turns gritty and pretty, Padua has three extraordinary sights worth making the trip for. The first is the world’s oldest botanic garden and the second is the Palazzo del Bo – the main university building which houses the world’s first anatomical theatre. The latter is entirely made of wood, and is staggeringly atmospheric. Then trumping the lot is theCapella degli Scrovegni, which is covered almost entirely by Giotto frescos – making it a single giant masterpiece. See discoverpadova上海龙凤419m.

See: The three-minute guide to PaduaVicenza

Big ticket neighbour: Venice, Italy

Architectural uniformity makes Vicenza compellingly striking, and it’s largely down to one man – Andrea Palladio. His takes on ancient Roman architectural forms created countryside villas and in-town palaces that were marvellously harmonious with their surroundings. His two greatest set pieces – the double loggia-boasting Basilica Palladiana and temple-esque Teatro Olimpico – stand above the rest. Meanwhile La Rotonda is arguably the most perfect encapsulation of his ideas – and the identical design across all four faces has been copied around the world. See vicenzae上海龙凤419. Wanaka

Big ticket neighbour: Queenstown, New Zealand

Much more laid back than adrenaline junkie-packed Queenstown, Wanaka has several fabulous walking trails on its doorstep, its own highly picturesque lake and a vineyard on the outskirts. Kids and big kids should love the mazes and trickery of Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World, and the Mount Aspiring National Park is just on the doorstep. See lakewanaka上海龙凤419.nz.

See: The 20 must-do highlights of WanakaPlaya Del Carmen

Big ticket neighbour: Cancun, Mexico

While Cancun is all gigantic all-inclusive resorts and cavernous nightclubs, Playa Del Carmen plays it considerably cooler, with a vibe that’s far closer to the French Riviera or Ibiza’s non-glowsticks side. The world class beaches are there, too, while there are also a prodigious number of language schools, full of sprightly young things learning Spanish by day and learning about the potent powers of tequila at night. See playadelcarmen上海龙凤419m. Pretoria

Big ticket neighbour: Johannesburg

All jacarandas and graceful government buildings, Pretoria does a fine job of preserving its heritage. Several gorgeous buildings congregate around Church Square, while a strong museum includes Paul Kruger’s House – devoted to the Boer leader – the Museum of Natural History and the Correctional Services Museum. The latter is at the Pretoria Central Prison, where political prisoners were once held and executed. It doesn’t flinch from the gory truth. See tshwanetourism上海龙凤419m. Rotterdam

Big ticket neighbour: Amsterdam

Defiantly modern Rotterdam is an experimental hub of all things modern architecture, with big, daring new projects being unveiled on a regular basis. Piet Blom’s tilting, cube shaped houses built around an overpass are a classic, while the bold, colourful new market hall is a more recent addition. Throughout the city, though, shiny, unusually-shaped glass towers compete for attention in a country that’s otherwise defiantly low-lying. See en.rotterdam.info.

See: Why Rotterdam is one of Europe’s best citiesCompiegne

Big ticket neighbour: Paris

Compiegne is horse-breeding country, and also home to one of France’s most marvellous palaces. The sprawling Château de Compiègne was built for Louis XV, and acts as a less gaudy Versailles.

There’s also plenty of history in Compiegne. A railway clearing on the outskirts of town was where the First World War ended, as Germany surrendered inside a train carriage. During World War II, Hitler insisted on bringing the same carriage back to the same spot for France’s surrender. See compiegne-tourisme.fr. Potsdam

Big ticket neighbour: Berlin

A world away from Berlin’s urban cool, Potsdam harks back to the era of Prussian might, with grand parks and palaces. The Sanssouci Palace, Orangery Palace and New Palace compete for grandeur, the Roman-style baths give an insight into how the Prussian higher orders kicked back and enjoyed themselves, while the giant Babelsburg film studio is a high temple of European movie-making. See potsdam-tourism上海龙凤419m. Girona

Big ticket neighbour: Barcelona

A hugely photo-friendly city built higgledy-piggledy on the banks of the Onyar river, Girona’s has done a wonderful job of preserving its old buildings and quarters. Cathedrals, fortifications and Benedictine monasteries are amongst the individual attractions, but it’s really one of those places is best tackled with aimless mooching, picking up the extensive Christian, Jewish and Muslim history on the way. See girona.cat/turisme/eng/

See: Eating at ‘the best restaurant on the planet’ in Girona

See also: The world’s 10 most amazing lost cities