As much as we love plowing through thick architectural books, sometimes we just want to sit back and listen as people who have done their homework tell us what's new and interesting in design. This is when podcasts -- the La-Z-Boys of learning -- can serve an educational and entertainment purpose.
Take for example this radio program (89.9 FM) that's repackaged in podcast form. Host Anderton takes listeners on a monthly journey through the streets, structures and building issues of Los Angeles. There's a mix of everything -- surfer chicks rhapsodizing about the sensuousness of surfboard design, the need for humane homeless shelters and the market for $500 cellphones.
Sometimes her interview subjects ramble too long in their professorial monotones to engage a design novice, but Anderton clips in often enough to keep the information streaming.
Her environmental bent is refreshing, especially in the building business, which until recently preferred new over used. But she also doesn't let current darlings such as "green materials" slide without a critical look. One segment questions whether using harvested bamboo, transported tens of thousands of miles, is really a gesture of friendship to an overburdened planet.
-- Janet Eastman