Discussing Car Dependence with Peter Norton

Peter Norton is an associate professor of history in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia and the author of books ‘Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City’ & ‘Autonorama: The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving’.

In a car-dependent world, driving is not a choice and therefore we can’t interpret ubiquitous driving as an expression of choice.

Peter Norton

In this recording, we talk with Professor Norton about his work, the history of how car dependence was engineered and marketed to societies, storytelling around mobility, the resistance to car domination that has always existed and more.

My suggestion for storytellers is to include some history, because one of the reasons we have car dependency is because Motordom tried to persuade us that history is on the side of car dependency which was very hard to do because, in fact, if we dig a bit deeper we find that there has always been advocacy for pedestrians, there has always been advocacy for cyclists and transit, there’s always been resistance to car dependency and history is really on the side of people who say that ‘streets are for people’, as they always were until the 20th century.

peter norton