The Urbanist

Lessons from history

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Cover art for The Urbanist

21 April 2022

Episode 549

30 minutes

What lessons can cities learn from the past? We discuss Leonardo da Vinci’s plans for the ideal city, sketched after a pandemic; revisit the pneumatic tube system; and re-examine the humble drinking fountain.

21 April 2022

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Chapter 1

10 minutes


Photo: Getty Images

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Chapter 1

The ideal city after a pandemic

Cover art for The Urbanist

After surviving a pandemic that wiped out a third of Milan’s population in the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci decided to design his ideal city. Urban planner Nolan Gray examines Da Vinci’s revolutionary plans.

10 minutes

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The ideal city after a pandemic

Chapter 2

5 minutes

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Chapter 2

Pneumatic tube systems

Cover art for The Urbanist

Description: This was a solution Until the 1970s pneumatic tube systems were a common sight in offices and retail spaces across Europe and the US. Monocle’s Alexei Korolyov visits an Austrian company that’s taking the technology to new levels.

5 minutes

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Pneumatic tube systems

Chapter 3

8 minutes


Photo: Alamy

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Chapter 3

The humble drinking fountain

Cover art for The Urbanist

As global temperatures rise and cities become hotter, Ljubljana has been turning to history to keep residents cool by reviving the tradition of the public drinking fountain.

8 minutes

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The humble drinking fountain

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