Four Podcasts for Urbanist Listening
As the winter weather tends to slow things down, we’ve gathered our top urbanist podcasts for listening to on cold and rainy commutes. From unpacked city mysteries, to feminist perspectives on city life, podcasts are a great way to open your mind to new ideas about the metropolis and beyond!
“A podcast highlighting the new normal of urbanism in our globalized cities, as told by two female urbanists Katrina + Kristen.”
Katrina and Kristen approach urbanist topics from a refreshingly intersectional and qualitative perspective. Katrina is an urban anthropologist and founder of Women-Led Cities, while Kristen runs the multimedia platform, The Black Urbanist. Each episode they discuss different topics related to cities and often invite guests on their show to join in on the conversation.
Recommended listening: Nighttime Design with Leni Schwendinger.
“Failed Architecture is a podcast on architecture and the real world. We combine personal stories with research and reflection, always remaining committed to the idea that architecture is about social justice and climate justice, pop culture and subculture, representation and imagination, and everything that happens after the building’s been built.”
Failed Architecture sunlights the darker side of the architecture industry- the one that prioritizes capital and recognition over the discipline’s impact on social and climate justice. FA asks questions like: How can architects balance the benefit of bringing a smooth, shiny new project against the human cost required to produce it? And: How can an entire neighbourhood, where thousands of people continue to live their lives on a daily basis, be simply dismissed as a grand failure? While this is certainly not the podcast to appease architecture-romantics, it’s one of the best and most important podcasts out there that makes known the brute realities of the industry.
Recommended listening: #02 City Gameplay: The Influence of Video Games on Our Urban Experience.
“99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.”
Podcast host Roman Mars answers your curiosities about the world you may not have even known you had. Each episode covers a different design-related topic ranging from the history of the green cross walk man to how the Swedes permanently changed the direction of car traffic overnight. While not all episodes relate to city wonders, many of them do. Regardless, each episode of 99pi will leave you enlightened by the mundane and sharp for conversation starters.
Recommended listening: Usonia the Beautiful and H-Day.
“WBEZ’s Curious City lets the public choose the stories we cover. You sound off on what’s got you curious about Chicago, the region and its people and WBEZ works with you to get answers.”
While this podcast will be most relevant to those familiar with the City of Chicago, its participatory format and enlightening investigation are enough to interest anyone. Curious City is hosted by Chicago radio station WBEZ, and asks readers to submit their questions about the city online, letting the public inform what the podcast will investigate next. Each episodes is a short and informative slice of Chicago-centric inquiry. While some questions may need a bit more background context than others (What makes the suburb of Evanston a destination for rug stores? Why are For Sale signs banned in Oak Park?), others offer a more digestible glance at the city’s cultural and infrastructural history (What’s inside Chicago’s windowless and doorless buildings? Are there really secret railway tunnels under the city?).
Recommended listening: Don’t Believe The Height! Why Chicago Suburb Names Flat Out Lie About Their Elevation