10 Out of the 2010s: Tune in and Share a Set of Chart-Topping 99pi Episodes

As 99% Invisible celebrates its 10th anniversary, we’re revisiting a decade of fan favorites and greatest hits. These episodes highlight different eras, topics, and a range of creative storytellers. If you’re new to 99pi or looking to share it with others, consider this a starting point:

A canal, a crisis, and a group of people who adapted to some of the strangest circumstances on Earth — this is a story of conflict but also one of resilience, community and everyday life in unusual times.

How mobile are “mobile” homes, and how did this idea of housing mobility come to shape a generation of residential architecture? Manufactured housing is more complex than it might appear.

Things get designed, used, then discarded, but what happens next? Recycling often happens out of sight and mind, but when part of that process breaks down, suddenly it all becomes much more visible.

What at first seemed like a timely story has become tragically evergreen: fires have become more and more frequent and will continue to impact where and how we live in the decades to come.

Some episodes center on conversations between host Roman Mars and a book author; here, the two discuss problematic ways various “neutral” designs fail to take people actually using them into account.

Others episodes are stories in the conventional sense, as much about characters as they are about the strange spaces they occupy, like an accidental room formed in the creation of a shopping center.

This tale of Sears homes sits at the intersection of design, consumer culture and American history, exploring the evolution of housing at a time when people could literally order buildings from a catalog.

The United States Postal Service is more than just a mail-carrying system — it was instrumental in shaping the nation as we know it, part and parcel of a vast infrastructural expansion from coast to coast.

Zoom in on a skyscraper disaster waiting to happen and a curious student whose probing questions led to an emergency intervention. Rarely are the stakes quite so high in our stories of architectural design.

Originally aired five years ago, this episode was later remastered to include new music and bonus content. It is about the installation of a deceptively simple sign, but also more broadly tackles the tensions between top-down infrastructure and bottom-up interventions.

Bonus: Have you ever wondered what’s up with the interrobang‽ If so, take a listen! Meanwhile, there is a lot more where these came from — 99pi has an archive of hundreds of episodes to choose from; you can go in order, search by category, or just sign up for the feed!

Postscript: Since we posted a staff favorites list a few weeks back, 99pi fans have been responding with their own favorites. Here’s a partial list of ones that are regularly suggested by listeners: Razzle Dazzle, This is Chance, Curb Cuts, Built on Sand, Play Mountain, Froebel’s Gifts, Right to Roam, The Blazer Experiment, Thomassons, Ten Thousand Years, Kowloon Walled CityHeyoonA Cheer for Samuel Plimsoll, Mojave Phone Booth, Podcast Episode, the Articles of Interest mini-series, and (just had to add this one): Raccoon Resistance. Feel to drop your own favorites in the comments or on social media — thanks for listening!

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