Podcasts to build together the After Covid City
Public space By Paloma Medina 1 month ago
As the pandemic has stretched our perception of time, it turns out that it is already mid-August, which means that soon schools and universities will reopen. For many of us who are no longer enrolled in formal studies, September also means resuming our routines, reconnecting with friends and colleagues after a period of absence and making exciting plans for the months ahead.

To inspire us, we’ve curated some of our current favourite podcasts and episodes, featuring different voices and experiences. We hope these ideas will help you start interesting conversations and take action in your cities, whether you’re an urbanist, a student or just a well-informed citizen. Listen to them on the websites we have linked or wherever you listen to podcasts.

1. Urbanistica Podcast

Website | Scope: International | Language: English

Who is behind it: Our AfterCovid.City partner (and good friend) Mustafa Sherif, an urban planner at AFRY in Stockholm Sweden and co-coach of the TEDx talk Stockholm team with plenty of experience in urban development. With a passion for storytelling, his biggest drive is to inspire people to create and develop more social and sustainable cities, which he has implemented as host, curator, producer and all-rounder of the Urbanistica podcast.

Why you should listen to it: Urbanistica launched in November 2019 and is one of the most prolific interview podcasts on urbanism, with 223 episodes at the time of writing and new releases every week. In each episode, he invites people from the urban development field to talk about their profession and their personal experiences, practices and ideologies. His guests can be very diverse in their backgrounds as long as they have an interesting story from their hearts from their cities. This diversity also shows why so many people like this podcast – over 50,000 listeners from 100+ countries!

Highlights: Get direct insights from AfterCovid.City contributors Michael Stott (Australia) on placemaking in AfterCovidCities, and James Ardinast (Germany) on creating vibrant after covid cities, as well as the episode with our own Ramon Marrades (Spain) on co-creation and public space. Another must-listen episode is with Carlos Moreno, the Sorbonne professor responsible for the idea of the “15-minute city”, but spend some time in the podcast archives to find more inspiration.

 

2. The Urbanist

Website | Scope: International | Language: English

Who is behind it: Andrew Tuck is the host of this podcast from Monocle 24, a global radio station covering international affairs, business, culture and design. He is also the founding editor of the global magazine Monocle, and the editor of the book The Monocle Guide to Building Better Cities and is moved by “what makes cities tick, from city hall to the suburbs”.

Why you should listen to it: The Urbanist shows you how cities around the world are doing better, one week at a time. Each episode is dedicated to a specific urban theme, place or building, or looks at relevant news at the time. The production alternates case studies and expert interviews with occasional field research in three 10-minute chapters and ends with a song that fits the theme of the episode. There are also short-format series under 10 minutes for busy people, making it an overall concentrated learning experience.

Highlights:Building back equally” rewrites the motto ‘build back better’ and puts inclusion at the heart of urban regeneration planning; “Repopulating the city centre” assesses the big ideas and challenges of what the “new normal” urban cores will be like; the post-2021 ULI Europe Conference episode invites visionary experts to briefly reflect on several aspects of cities after covid, with inspiring (and self-aware) takeaways; and the special “Health and the City in 2020” brings three experts to show what we can learn from the pandemic and bring inspiration and hope for the coming future.

3.The Citymaker

Website | Scope: Malaysia / International | Language: English

Who is behind it: ​Matt Armitage is the host of The Citymaker, the podcast of the online magazine of the same name from Think City, a community-focused urban regeneration organisation that aims to create more liveable, resilient and people-centred cities. Matt Armitage is also the editor of the online magazine.

Why you should listen to it: Each 30-minute Citymaker and its accompanying article it is very solution-oriented, ideal for those who like to pause and take notes on the side for their own projects. Far from the usual suspects, the podcast highlights innovations that solve urban challenges in Malaysia and beyond that anyone can learn from, focusing on human-scale topics and projects. 

Highlights: We like their series “The Reflexive City” about urban agility and post-covid related innovation to create the living spaces of the future. The embed episode, “Zoom Towns: New Cities at Work”, is an insightful piece that looks at the plans of cities around the world to attract talent in the context of the increasing relocation of jobs; “REX Revisited: Imagining A Creative And Cultural District” talks about how to harness the power of mixed-use cultural spaces to create liveable and resilient inner city communities, and how to support these structures in the long term.

4. Urbcast

Website | Scope: Poland / Europe | Language: English and Polish

Who is behind it: Scandi-loving urban planner Marcin Żebrowski created this bilingual Polish-English podcast to invite guests to discuss cities, urbanism and architecture with an interdisciplinary approach. An urban planner by education and practise, but spent the first months of the pandemic as a bicycle courier in Copenhagen, which prompted him to constantly reflect on the cities and what they mean to us.

Why you should listen to it: As the podcast started in May 2020, it mainly focuses on the visions for better cities and what aspects are crucial for us to consider when thinking of the betterment of urban environments. With a very optimistic attitude, Marcin Żebrowski invites international guests to explore different cities and layers of them in a way that allows every listener to understand the issue and reflect on it, as well as take a virtual trip to various places. The episodes differ significantly in terms of subject matters, as well as episode lengths, which allows you to always find something that you can listen to at the moment

Highlights: 

For English Speakers, we can definitely recommend the episodes about the backgrounds and basic assumptions of mobility with Sofia Lundeholm, the transition towards car-free cities with Robert Martin, food waste in our cities with Matt Homewood, or on how to design cities with people with Jeanette Westergaard Frisk. And if you happen to speak Polish, there is much more to explore 😉

5. Paseo

Website | Scope: Spain / International | Language: Spanish

Who is behind it: The journalist Álvaro G. Devís for plazaradio, a media company based in València, Spain. 

Why you should listen to it: Launched after the second Covid wave, this Spanish-language podcast invites you to take a walk to experience the ideas, elements and actions taking place in the city. In just 30 minutes, each episode delves deep into people’s lived experiences, hopes and dreams regarding the use of public space, touching on issues such as art, sexism, racism and ableism in public space with a sensitive soundtrack.

Highlights: With an average of 30 minutes per episode and only six episodes available, the entire podcast is worth bingeing! We can especially recommend the embedded episode on feminist urbanism and public space as hostile space, as well as the one on mapping the city through its urban soundscapes.

Bonus: 99% Invisible

Website | Scope: North America / International | Language: English

Who is behind it: Roman Mars is the creator and host of this popular podcast, producing new episodes weekly from Oakland, California, together with the team from 99% Invisible.

Why you should listen to it: Although technically a show about unseen design in general, the podcast invites us to learn from the past to shape our collective future in 30-minute narrative episodes about a particular concept, place or object. From technology to games, fashion to urbanism –they even have a book on the 99% Invisible City– the podcast and accompanying articles are a must for lifelong learning.

Highlights: The episode on DIY urbanism, “The Help-Yourself City”, talks about the power of community to shape our neighbourhoods where governments fail to intervene; the pre-pandemic “Palaces for the People” defends the history and importance of social infrastructure in the fight against inequality; and 2017’s “Oyster-tecture” is still relevant as it imagines the future of New York as a climate-resilient city by examining the impact of the former oyster population around the city.

The languages spoken by our team have limited our selection, so we’d love to hear your podcast recommendations in any language on our social media! Tweet us or comment on Instagram with your favourite post-Covid urban design podcasts.

 

*Special thanks to Pim van Limpt for helping to gather information about the Urbanistica podcast and to Marta Popiolek for writing about Urbcast 🙂