January 23, 2009
Colloquium Speaker: Tom Vanderbilt
Tom Vanderbilt writes on design, technology, science, and culture, among other subjects, for many publications, including Wired, Slate, The London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Wall Street Journal, The Wilson Quarterly, Travel and Leisure, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, Cabinet, Metropolis, and Popular Science. He is contributing editor to the design magazines I.D. and Print, contributing editor at Artforum, and contributing writer of the popular blog Design Observer. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller Traffic:Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K., and is being translated in 17 other countries. He is also the author of two previous books: Survival City: Adventures Among the Ruins of Atomic America (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002), an offbeat architectural travelogue of the nation’s secret Cold War past; and The Sneaker Book (The New Press, 1998), a cultural history of the athletic shoe (published in Italian and Swedish editions). His early writings for The Baffler have been collected in two anthologies, Commodify Your Dissent and Boob Jubilee (W.W. Norton, eds. Thomas Frank and Matthew Weiland), and he has also contributed essays to a number of books, including New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of the New York Times (New York University Press); Supercade: The Visual History of the Video Game Age (The MIT Press), Else/Where: Mapping (The University of Minnesota Press, 2006),Quonset Hut: Metal Living for a Modern Age (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005), and The World and the Wild (The University of Arizona Press). He has given lectures at colleges and business conferences, and has appeared on a wide variety of radio and television programs around the world, including NBC’s Today Show, ABC News’ Nightline, NPR’s Morning Edition, Fresh Air with Teri Gross, the BBC’s World Service and The One Show, Fox Business, and CNN’s Business Today, among many others.
The talk will present findings from the New York Times bestselling book "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)," including the dynamics of traffic flow and jam formation, the social interactions of drivers, the perceptual illusions and cognitive biases that humans behind the wheel are prone to, the relationship between the built environment and our behavior, among other aspects of this complex, yet overlooked, everyday activity.