The Most Inspiring Podcasts on Urbanism, Design and Architecture
We’ve been exploring all corners of the urbanism, architecture, design and city-making world from the comfort of our couch or a socially-distanced walk searching for inspiration. Here is a comprehensive list of our favorite shows that have sonically been in our ears, taking our minds to new places and planting new ideas on designing more livable, lovable cities.
Design and the City
Of course, we had to include our own. We launched our first Design and the City earlier this year with visionary architects, trailblazing urbanists and creative thought-leaders like Chris Precht (Studio Precht), Thomas Heatherwick (Heatherwick Studios), Ravi Naidoo (Design Indaba), Marianthi Tatari (UNStudio), Yosuke Hayano (MAD Architects) and a few more, all whom spoke at last years reSITE 2019 REGENERATE. Hear exclusive interviews along with bits of their presentations—all laced with the same mission of how we can make cities more livable and lovable.
Listen if you like inspiring ideas on how to make cities more human-centered, sustainably-developed, the different forms urban regeneration can take and rethinking and reframing the very foundation and function design has on our cities.
Roman Mars’s 99% Invisible is a fascinating example of how research and storytelling can come together and change our perception about things we are not usually paying attention to. From the design of straws and pinball machines to the history of the creation of curb cuts in American cities to bizarre construction of skyscrapers in Singapore. It uncovers the unseen, invisible stories of architecture and design that are shaping the world, and you will never been the same again.
Listen if you like obscure trivia, the never-ending building process of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the rise and fall of the Cul-De-Sac and the world of sound design.
Monocle Radio's The Urbanist
We're big fans of Monocle. They are a regular presence at reSITE events and often record an episode on site at our conferences. From their sensory Tall Stories series that play on the sounds and tales of cities and their subcultures from all over the globe, to their regular weekly episodes, Monocle Radio's The Urbanist features conversations with influential city mayors, urban planners, and architects on a smattering of topics from megapolis planning, grassroots activism and as the name suggests, urbanism with hosts Andrew Tuck and Carlota Rebelo.
Listen if you like old school radio shows, well-spoken stories about lively neighborhoods in global metropolises, sounds of city life, and thoughtful examinations on the current trends in city-making.
Face to Face
This March online architecture and design media kings, Dezeen, launched a thier first podcast series, Face to Face, hosted by founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs. Their eight episode run features voices like Thomas Heatherwick, Es Delvin and Norman Foster, delving into who they are now and the challenges they've faced along the way to success.
Listen if you like intimate interviews with your design and architect heros, all-too relatable struggles, and where their respective creative minds were first constructed.
Former Chief City Planner of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat’s podcast, Invisible City, aims to shape the global conversation on 21st-century cities sharing positive and unique stories that illuminate the complexity of city living. Keesmaat has been an advocate for walkable, livable cities, and while her show has not produced any new episode's since 2017, the ideas cemented in the available epsidoes is as timeless and relevant as ever.
Listen if you like the ins-and-outs of urbanism with interviews from Canadian city-makers, Jennifer Keesmaat's fierce apporach to transforming Toronto and everything from green belts, cars and urban agriculture.
Failed Architecture is a podcast on architecture and the real world. It opens up new perspectives on our built environment through exploration of architect in contemporary society. They aim to provide an “inclusive platform for critical urban discourse, fueled by unconventional narratives from an international network of contributors.”
Listen for personal stories, research and reflection on why architecture continues to fail in our current global economic climate that puts profit above all else.
Space 10: IMAGINE is a single-season podcast imagining wha a brave new world of shared living could look like. It deeply dives into everything from groundbreaking discoveries about making “cities for people” to the latest research into well-being, and from Denmark’s largest co-housing communities to SPACE10’s own playful research on co-living.
Listen if you like insights from architects, anthropologists, designers and urban planners and reimagining the future and of how shared living could help solve some of our biggest challenges.
Third Wave Urbanism
To enhance your understanding of city-making in the globalized world, mainly through the eyes of women, catch the Third Wave Urbanism podcast launched by two female urbanists Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman and Kristen Jeffers. In thirty-seven episodes, they touch upon critical topics in city-making, explaining the way cities operate for their inhabitants and focusing specifically on the matters of equality and social inclusion.
Listen if you like urbanism as activism, dissecting problems of 21st century cities, creating inclusivity and intersectional, feminist takes on the built environment.
About Buildings + Cities
Brought to the public by Luke Jones and George Gingell, About Buildings + Cities take the audience on a thoughtful tour through the history of architecture, buildings and cities from the ancient times to the fancied future, making it even more enjoyable with reference to technology, movies, fiction, comics, and drawings.
Listen if you like historical takes on architecture, with detours into technology, film, culture and more.
The Midnight Charette
Presented by New York Architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, The Midnight Charette is an excellent combination of educationally informative and entertaining insights on design, architecture, and the everyday. Moreover, hosts never fail to cultivate great discussions between themselves and a variety of innovative professionals including the late Michael Sorkin, in unscripted and long-format interviews.
Listen if you like design-focused, pop culture and current event commentary and NPR style interviews from experts on a broad creative spectrum.
Strong Towns is a podcast by Chuck Maron, founder and president of the Strong Towns —"a movement dedicated to making communities across the United States and Canada financially strong and resilient." The peculiarity of his view of cities lay in his keen interest in the problems of small towns: the pursuit of financial health, the focus on incremental growth, and the long-term sustainability of cities.
Listen if you like deeper looks into urbanism movements across small comunities in North America and nuts and bolts of why some towns prosper and many others fail.
Scratching the Surface
Scratching the Surface digs into the intersection of design criticism and practice. Each week, host Jarrett Fuller interviews designers, writers, critics, educators and those that operate between these fields with names such as OMA’s Reiner de Graaf and City of Los Angeles’s Chief Design Officer, Christopher Hawthorne.
Listen if your are curious about how writing, criticism, and theory informs individual practices and the design profession at large.
Explore the backstage of the architecture on Archispeak with architect hosts, Cormac Phalen, Neal Pann, and Evan Troxel as they explore all corners of the industry. They reveal absolutely every aspect of the architects’ working field: from practical and obvious, such as preparation for exams for the right degree, optimization of budget, fight for the equal rights for female architects, to the most extraordinary, such as giving professionals’ answers to the schoolchildren's questions.
Listen if you like to go beyond the work and the architectural theories into the inside scoop on the ins and outs of the culture and industry.
While Design Matters covers a much broader definition of design, the shows decade long-run has seen a slew of designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians, thought-leaders and other creatives share insights into their respective fields with Debbie Millman. Their conversations often turn into exciting stories about their way of becoming professionals, and could even offer some cross-examination into fields outside your own. We, after all, are all about the cross-pollination of ideas and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Listen if you like anyone from Massimo Vignelli, Milton Glaser, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, Barbara Kruger, Seth Godin, and more, and consuming every aspect of design while finding inspiration in unexpected places.
Listen to Design and the City
Associate Director and Senior Architect at UNStudio, Marianthi Tatari, dissects different aspects of city-making that threaten the quality of life such as mono-functional spaces and commoditized smart cities and how to approach designing them with optimism. Photo courtesy of UNStudio
Chris Precht’s aim to reconnect our lives to our food production by bringing it back into our cities and our minds can be found throughout his architecture. Listen as he discusses the importance of authenticity, creating spaces that activate our senses, and looking at our objective reality to solve the problems of our time.
Ravi Naidoo, the driving force behind Design Indaba, arguably the most influential design event in the world. The event takes place annually in Cape Town is only the tip of the iceberg. Listen as he pushes the boundaries of the purpose design holds with the simple question—what is design for? Photo courtesy of Design Indaba
Thomas Heatherwick’s holistic approach brings a thoughtful dimension to architecture, design and urban spaces. Listen to the acclaimed designer along with ArchDaily editor, Christele Harrouk, as they explore how he approaches projects by considering them from a human scale.