My Favorite City-Centered 99% Invisible Podcasts

Posted by Michelle Chandra on

While designing my maze maps, I love listening to podcasts! 99% Invisible is hands down my favorite podcast for all things design, urban planning, and more!

I have been digging deep into the 99% Invisible archives these past few months. To celebrate, I rounded up my favorite podcasts on each of the cities featured as a Dirt Alley Design maze map.


Episode 281 - La Sagrada Familia (10/24/17)
Having visited the famous La Sagrada Familia in 2016, I can personally attest to the stunning, calming and meditative space of Guell's famous temple. Take a dive into the background of La Sagrada Familia that has been in ongoing construction for 130 years!

Brooklyn / Manhattan

black and white brooklyn maze map art print by michelle chandra of dirt alley design

Episode 87 - I Heart NY, TM (08/21/13)
You've probably seen it everywhere if you have ever visited NYC (or even if you haven't!) The infamous "I heart NY" graphic designed by renowned graphic designer Milton Glaser. This episode covers the creation of the graphic, and the extent the State of New York goes to protecting the trademark from copycat artists.

Episode 122 - Good Egress (07/08/14)
Before there were building standards for fire exits (i.e. take the stairs, not the elevator), there were ropes, and baskets and even slides and parachutes! Needless to say, these alternative fire exits didn't turn out to be too helpful but it took the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in NYC for change to come. 

blue and gold chicago maze map art print by dirt alley design

Episode 86 - Reversal of Fortune (08/08/13)

Did you know the Chicago river actually flows through Chicago BACKWARDS? Find out more about this peculiar phenomenon and Chicago's ingenious sewer system in this episode!

green gradient oakland map art print by michelle chandra of dirt alley design

Episode 254 - Containers: The Ships, The Tugs, and the Port (04/04/17)
The Oakland Port's famous white cranes towering over the San Francisco Bay is a sight that has long inspired local artists. Learn more about the bustling port in this stunning episode, which also happens to be the first 99% Invisible episode I ever listened to and which hooked me right from the start!

Episode 193 - Tube Benders (12/13/15)
If you are like me (and even if you are not), the sight of an old-fashioned neon sign fills you with joy. But how are they made, and are they even still made anymore? Learn all of this and more in the context of Oakland's famous Tribune neon sign.

San Francisco

san francisco maze map art print by dirt alley design
Episode 94 - Unbuilt (11/12/13) 
This episode is about all of the things that never got built in San Francisco. If you ever wondered about alternate realities for San Francisco, then check out this episode!

Episode 192 - Pagodas and Dragon Gates (12/08/15)

San Francisco's Chinatown is a top destination for visitors and locals alike. But while you might think you are getting an "authentic" experience of China, the reality is, you really aren't. Turns our, Chinatown's famous architecture was really all just designed to appease to San Francisco's white residents at a time when animosity towards Chinese Americans was high. Confront your assumptions with this episode!

About Dirt Alley Design

Michelle Chandra, founder, Dirt Alley DesignDirt Alley Design was founded just off a dirt alley in San Francisco in December of 2016 by artist Michelle Chandra. Inspired by the beauty of street grids, Michelle invented maze maps in which she transforms street grids into mazes. 

My maze art isn't just decorative art for your home, it's a real puzzle maze you can solve (if you dare!) I think my maze maps are pretty cool, but don't take just my word for it! My maze maps have been featured in LaughingSquidThe Creator's Project, Untapped Cities and UpOutSF.


san francisco urban planning

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