Roman Mars – The 99% invisible city

I really love the podcast 99% invisible that deals with design. Therefore I was excited when they announced a book about hidden design in cities. The book copies the aim of the podcast to make the invisble visible and point the reader to design in cities and the cool stories behind it. It is divided up into several chapters like Infrastructure, Geography or Architecture, that are then also divided up into smaller parts. For instance, the chapter Infrastructure is divided up into Civic, Water, Technology and Roadways.

In each of these sub-chapters you find detailed descriptions of one phenomenon. These descriptions are each one to two pages long, which makes the book easy to read and also makes it a resource that you can read later again.You also do not have to read it from the beginning to end although sometimes there are cross-references.

I really liked to read all the stories of small things you recognize in cities. However, the book is mainly focused on cities in the US. It is also fascinating to see that some of the design concepts are only visible in on or two cities, often due to some historical events or habits.

It is a nice book, can be also used very well as a present. It has really nice illustrations and it looks really significant. You can also use it as a guideline where you can later look at it and find our cool things that are visible in your city. The subtitle is A field guide to the hidden world of everyday design. This describes it best. Take the guide and see what you can see in the field!