📰 10 newsletters/pods about the future (& the present)
What you need to read and listen to if you want to make sense of our fast-changing urban world - Issue #17
☄️ Welcome to 2022 folks!
We’re only a week into 2022 and it seems this year will be as challenging as the last ones (and the years to come).
In this special edition (and to prepare for Cities in Mind’s upcoming first anniversary 🥳), I decided to share with you some of the key resources I use to inform and educate myself about the future of cities and the transformations of society at large. Those resources vary in terms of themes, angles, writing or podcasting styles, languages (English and French) and they are all an important source of inspiration for my own newsletter.
I made a point to share with you only independent, or at least non-mainstream, newsletters and podcasts. Not that I am against traditional media but it’s not there that I find my ideas nor forge my opinions. Independent newsletters and pods are, in my experience, the best way to get an alternative view on complex topics, identify blind spots, find new references and exercise your critical thinking and judgement.
If you’ve watched Don’t Look Up, it was clearly one of the key messages: mass media (thankfully, not all of them) are often ill-equipped to inform us about impending and current challenges such as the climate crisis. They are also unable to help us unpack complex issues and measure the importance of systems change.
So here I am, compiling different Substack newsletters and independent podcasts which play a central role in my very own investigation and work on cities. You’ll see that some resources are not city-focused but I enjoy sifting through them because they provide me with the materials and ideas I need to think about cities differently.
I hope you’ll like this mini-selection and feel free to reach out to me and suggest your favourite newsletters and podcasts.
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🤓 10 newsletters/pods you should definitely check out
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Urban Technology at the University of Michigan
A fantastic newsletter, led by professors and researchers at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, which combines news about urbanism, technology, and design and which explores, with a lot of humility, why technology might or might not shape the future of cities.
The podcast for urbanists fighting climate change. Ross O'Ceallaigh is a planner and urban designer based in London and explores how architects, planners, policy makers and designers can make cities more sustainable, healthy and happy. A very informative show. Don’t miss the latest episode on McDonald’s ridiculous net zero carbon restaurant (greenwashing alert) initiative.
If you like stories about cities and internet memes, this newsletter is right up your alley. Max is doing a great job covering different policy and technological innovations around the urban world, while providing hilarious visuals that will make your read both fun and insightful. Check out the last issue on why the city Seoul is getting excited about the Metaverse.
An excellent podcast in French (with some episodes in English) about a fast changing world and the big challenges of our times, from climate change to technological disruptions, geopolitical and societal shifts. I am a big fan of Julien’s interviewing style and I love following his investigation of the complex forces shaping today’s world. His tagline best translates to “The world is changing… and we understand nothing”.
Small vehicles for small trips. The micromobility revolution is taking over the world and transforming the way we think about moving people and goods in cities. Though more tailored towards startups and VCs, this newsletter offers regular insights about an urban world where cars are no longer the norm, all the way from Europe, the US to Asia.
15 Marches is a French innovation agency, lead by Stéphane and Noémie, exploring the impacts of the digital revolution on our lives. The Futur(s) by 15 Marches newsletter uses short thought-provoking fictional stories to highlight potential transformations in the way we work, live and play. An endless source of inspiration for me and one of the reasons I decided to jump in the Cities in Mind adventure.
“Rest of world” is a ridiculous corporate term that means “everyone else”, generally representing billions of people outside of the Western world. This online media aims to develop alternative and non-Western stories about technology, culture, social issues, focusing on Southeast and South Asia, Africa and Latin America. I specifically enjoy their coverage of the gig economy in the Global South.
Dixit is France’s top knowledge platform about circular cities and urban regeneration. Each week, Sylvain and Frédérique dives into the manifold opportunities circular thinking offers to we way we design, maintain and manage cities. Razor-sharp analyses, combined with useful links and resources for urban professionals.
Estelle Métayer provides a weekly diverse (and eclectic) selection about emerging trends and weak signals that might impact our lines of work, in the present or near future. For me, an occasion to expand my views, think outside-of-the-box and identify new disruption factors, across industries and geographies.
China’s role on the world stage is expanding. In this tech-focused (but not only) newsletter, Lillian Li explains why the Chinese tech ecosystem has become a mirror to the West tech world, innovating in divergent and parallel ways. An important source of information to understand the ripple effects of China’s tech, policy and business decisions.
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A new podcast series about regenerative design and systems change, led by architects Sarah Ichioka and Michael Pawlyn, authors of Flourish: Design Paradigms for Our Planetary Emergency. Their episode with Kate Raworth about Doughnut Economics and Regenerative Futures was just brilliant. Looking forward to the next episodes and contributions.
That’s it for our mini-tour. I hope you found some interesting resources and that you got convinced to support independent writers and content curators 🙋🏻♂️
If that’s the case, don’t forget to subscribe to Cities in Mind, share the newsletter around you or drop it into one of your company’s Slack channels.
And now, your turn! Where do you get your inspiration?
That’s it for today. As usual, a small 💚 at the bottom of this page goes a long way.
Thanks for your support and see you next Wednesday for a new issue.