The 99% Invisible City: Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design

From the creators of WebUrbanist and 99% Invisible comes a new beautifully designed and illustrated guide to cities. In their New York Times best-selling book, The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, Kurt Kohlstedt and Roman Mars zoom in to tell fascinating stories behind everything from power grids and drinking fountains to fire escapes and street signs. In the US, you can click here to order a copy — or check out this page for international options!

What reviewers are saying about The 99% Invisible City

“Here is a field guide, a boon, a bible, for the urban curious. Your city’s secret anatomy laid bare—a hundred things you look at but don’t see, see but don’t know. Each entry is a compact, surprising story, a thought piece, an invitation to marvel. Together, they are almost transformative. To know why things are as they are adds a satisfying richness to daily existence. This book is terrific, just terrific.” —Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Gulp, Stiff, and Grunt

“We usually define cities in terms of their bigness, so it’s easy to forget that our daily experience of any city is made up of countless tiny, intimate encounters. Just as Jane Jacobs did fifty years ago, Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt provide a new way of seeing urban life, finding secrets and surprises behind every sewer grate, storefront, and street sign.” —Michael Bierut, design critic and author of How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (Every Once in a While) Change the World

The 99% Invisible City brings into view the fascinating but often unnoticed worlds we walk and drive through every day, and to read it is to feel newly alive and aware of your place in the world. This book made me laugh, and it made me cry, and it reminded me to always read the plaque.” —John Green, New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars

One of over 100 illustrations from The 99% Invisible City by artist Patrick Vale

The 99% Invisible City is not a book, but a pair of magic glasses that transform the mundane city around you into a vibrant museum of human ingenuity.” —Justin McElroy, three-time New York Times best-selling author

“The ideal companion for city buffs, who’ll come away seeing the streets in an entirely different light.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Conversational, bite-size entries [and] beautiful tricolor illustrations ….  A field guide for anywhere.” —Booklist

“A brief review cannot do justice to such a diverse and enlightening book …. The 99% Invisible City is altogether fresh and imaginative when it comes to thinking about urban spaces.” —Kenneth T. Jackson, book reviewer for The New York Times 

A sampling of 99% Invisible City layouts designed by Raphael Geroni

Much like WebUrbanist, 99% Invisible is a big-ideas production about small-seeming things, revealing stories baked into the buildings we inhabit, the streets we drive on, and sidewalks we traverse. 99pi celebrates design and architecture in all of its functional glory and accidental absurdity, with tales of exceptional designers but also everyday designs. This book will captivate devoted fans of WU and 99pi plus anyone curious about design processes, urban environments, and other unsung marvels of the world. If you’ve enjoyed WebUrbanist, you’ll love The 99% Invisible City!