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Five Podcast Episodes on: Cities
This week’s theme is a broad one: cities. There are plenty of podcasts on cities but the following shows explore urban spaces from some unique angles. From urban geography and the rise of second cities, to the destruction of public spaces by golfers, and a woman singing to a building. Explore away!
99% Invisible: “Curb Cuts”
Like so many 99pi episodes, this one is about a hugely important feature of the urban landscape that most of us never really notice. In this case, it’s curb cuts: those little ramp sections cut out of the footpath at every pedestrian crossing. They’re handy if you have a buggy or are wheeling something, but they are essential if you’re in a wheelchair. This episode dives into the history of the activists who first fought for these innocuous-looking but life-changing pieces of urban geography.
The Urbanist: “Cities on the Rise”
In a list of podcasts on cities The Urbanist, from Monocle 24, is a show in which any episode could appear. I’ve selected a recent one about Cities on the Rise because of the Irish angle: it reports from Cork and talks, among other things, about some of the issues and difficulties of being a second city.
Revisionist History: “A Good Walk Spoiled”
Malcolm Gladwell’s show is at its best when he’s angry. And he’s really angry about golf and rich people. This episode from season 2 looks at the hugely undemocratic way that land is used for golf in cities. A great introductory episode to the show if you’ve never listened before.
Ministry of Ideas: “Tomorrow, Today”
This podcast out of Harvard Divinity School looks at a diverse array of topics, from cannibalism to politics to philosophy. The episode here is on World’s Fairs, huge expositions that were used as ways of showcasing technology, industry, and cities themselves. World’s Fairs in London, Paris, New York and elsewhere drew people from all over the world, and looking back at them now tells us a lot about how cities and societies saw their place in the world.
Sound Matters: “Invisible Music of Copenhagen”
Tim Hinman’s immaculately-produced podcast about sound never disappoints. The latest mini-series explores the sounds of different cities around the world, starting in Copenhagen, where the podcast is made. This episode has a Renaissance sound-system and someone singing to a building. Get some headphones, find a darkened room, and listen.