Synopses & Reviews
A beautifully designed guidebook to the unnoticed yet essential elements of our cities, from the creators of the wildly popular 99% Invisible podcast.
Have you ever wondered what those bright, squiggly graffiti marks on the sidewalk mean?
Or stopped to consider why you don't see metal fire escapes on new buildings?
Or pondered the story behind those dancing inflatable figures in car dealerships?
99% Invisible is a big-ideas podcast about small-seeming things,
revealing stories baked into the buildings we inhabit, the streets we
drive, and the sidewalks we traverse. The show celebrates design and
architecture in all of its functional glory and accidental absurdity,
with intriguing tales of both designers and the people impacted by their
The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to Hidden World of Everyday Design,
host Roman Mars and coauthor Kurt Kohlstedt zoom in on the various
elements that make our cities work, exploring the origins and other
fascinating stories behind everything from power grids and fire escapes
to drinking fountains and street signs. With deeply researched entries
and beautiful line drawings throughout,
The 99% Invisible City will captivate devoted fans of the show
and anyone curious about design, urban environments, and the unsung
marvels of the world around them.
"The ideal companion for city buffs, who'll come away seeing the streets in an entirely different light." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Conversational, bite-size entries [and] beautiful tricolor illustrations....A field guide for anywhere." Booklist
"Here is a field guide, a boon, a bible,
for the urban curious. Your city's secret anatomy laid bare — a hundred
things you look at but don't see, see but don't know. Each entry is a
compact, surprising story, a thought piece, an invitation to marvel.
Together, they are almost transformative. To know why things are as they
are adds a satisfying richness to daily existence. This book is
terrific, just terrific." Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Gulp, Stiff, and Grunt
About the Author
Roman Mars is creator and host of
99% Invisible, the wildly popular podcast exploring architecture
and design, for which he produced the most successful crowdfunding
campaigns for a podcast in Kickstarter history.
Fast Company named Mars one of the 100 Most Creative People in 2013 and he was a TED main stage speaker in 2015.
Kurt Kohlsted is the digital director and producer of 99%
Invisible. Before joining the show, he founded a series of successful
online magazines on cities and design, starting with WebUrbanist in
2007. He holds a graduate degree in architecture from the University of
Washington's College of Built Environments.