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EP 504: 99% Invisible's Roman Mars on How People, Politics, and Pandemics Impact Design

99% Invisible host Roman Mars discusses his new book why it’s taken him a decade to finally write a 99% Invisible book The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, all of the thought that this design fan put into the look of his first book, and some of the secret publishing considerations that determine everything from how many units get returned to whether a book gets sold by Costco. We talk about the baseball player who became synonymous with stairs to nowhere and other architectural elements that have outlasted their usefulness, how the lost art of neon tube bending is making a comeback, and how residents, local governments, and more affect the look and character of a neighborhood. For instance, Roman shares how taxes have impacted the shape buildings throughout history, and the role that design plays in making our public spaces safer and our cities more pedestrian friendly during the current pandemic. Plus we talk about creepy dolls, librarians on a power trip, the beautiful hideousness of city flags, and San Francisco's love/hate relationship with the TransAmerica pyramid.

Order Roman's his book The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design. You can listen to 99% Invisible wherever you listen to podcasts or at Follow Roman and the show on Twitter at @RomanMars and @99piorg, and be sure to check out the whole lineup of Radiotopia podcasts at Today's episode is sponsored by Kestra Financial.

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