“We know for certain is that when we refuse to accept the status quo as inevitable and strive to bring about change, we can have a powerful effect in inspiring others to do the same.”

– Sarah Ichioka + Michael Pawlyn

Do you turn to podcasts to be riveted by true crime, learn new things, or find general comic relief?  We’ve done all of the above, but we’ve also found there are many podcasts that have been instrumental in our team’s personal and professional development over the past couple of years.  While we love books (and the libraries and bookstores we wander around in for hours) we’ve also become passionate about podcasts.  They’re portable, digestible, and you can listen again and again to hear new things and sharpen your perspective.  And do so while driving or folding laundry – a win!

Here are a few of our favorites:

Scene on Radio

Although it doesn’t directly relate to architecture, John Biewin’s excellent podcast series has been foundational in developing an understanding of our cultural context.  Seasons 2-5 each do a deep dive on big, complicated topics: Seeing White (structural racism); MEN (patriarchy); The Land that has Never Yet Been (American Democracy); and The Repair (the climate crisis). The stories are engaging, amazingly well reported, and seasonal co-hosts Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, Celeste Headlee and Amy Westervelt all provide excellent perspectives.

How to Save a Planet

The title of this one is less cryptic.  It is a straightforward dive into climate issues, and more importantly, what we can do about them.  It provides history, context and each episode ends with a Call to Action (see their archive here.)     We do miss the former co-host, one of our favorite climate heroes, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson.  But since she left the project last year  journalist Alex Blumberg, has carried on admirably.  Leveraging learning toward action is a great approach.

Flourish Systems Change

This is one most closely tied to architecture, as it is hosted by an urbanist, Sarah Ichioka, and an architect, Michael Pawlyn.  They offer a broad international perspective on a regenerative approach to the built environment and have introduced us to many luminaries in economics, science, and technology who are all working toward common goals.  The eight episode podcast is actually a teaser for their excellent 2022 book, “Flourish”, which discusses many of the same themes and others.  Building on the work of many, they define the concept of Possibilism – neither optimism or pessimism but an embrace of possibility that engenders agency and action – and demonstrate how shifts in our embrace of what is possible can lay the groundwork for the future we seek to build.

We’ll end on that one – it’s both hopeful and resolute.  And we’ll get back to work!