I enjoy speaking and do it often in this country and abroad. You can contact me through this website to discuss speaking fees and possible topics. Below are lists of and links to talks I’ve given and recent speaking engagements.

Recent  Appearances

December 1, 2017 – The Train Campaign, Great Barrington, Mass. How Transportation Has Shaped Us, and How We Have Shaped Transportation.

September 21, 2017 – 5th International Academic Conference on Underground Space, Qingdao City, China. How The Institutions That Shaped The New World Trade Center Site Failed Us, and We Them.

June 22, 2107 – Summit on Private Public Partnerships, Marina Del Ray, California. Some Big Thoughts and Tips on Infrastructure.

February 1, 2013 – Elliott Bay Book Store, Seattle. Seven Ways Government Designs Markets.

Jan. 28, 2013 – The Steve Scher Show, KUOW, Seattle. Interviewed about my new book The Surprising Design of Market Economies

October 17, 2012  – Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge Mass: Lecture: The Surprising Design of Markets: From Cities to Copyrights

May 2012 – Seoul, South Korea. Transportation, Money and Fashion. Korea Transport Institute


Surprising Design: Seven Ways Goverments Design Markets – Using stories and examples from my latest book, I show how government constructs the foundations and walls of our market economy through laws of property, physical infrastructure, education systems, corporate charters, patent and copyright systems and International law. I call for a more public conversation, and say we should banish misguided and unhelpful rhetoric about the so-called free market, which I label a false concept.

How Does Our Garden Grow? — With this lecture of slides and words, Marshall shows how transportation systems through history, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate highway, have shaped our economies, our streets and our homes. The secret to understanding how we live, he says, is to understand the transformative power of the systems we use for moving around, be they foot, car, plane or train. He shows why sprawl wd be better tackled through transportation policy rather than through zoning or growth controls. He talks of who controls and shapes transportation, and how it can be used more assertively as a shaper of urban environments.

 What’s Wrong With New Urbanism? — From non-functioning alleys to dependence on standard suburban boulevards, Marshall, using slides and words, shows the flaws and destructive tendencies of aspects of this influential design philosophy. Although Marshall compliments and supports many of the movement’s ideas and ideals, he says citizens must discern between the effective, and misguided components of this design movement. In general, he argues, much of New Urbanism promotes sprawl by deluding citizens about its causes and cures, and by promoting the typically American fallacy that one can buy one’s way out of problems that can only be tackled through societal decisions.

Doing it Together: The Changing Definition of Infrastructure — From a drink of water to a visit to a hospital, Americans have debated, accepted and changed their definition of what tasks we do cooperatively as a society, and what we let families and individuals seek out through the private, for-profit market. One name for what we do choose to do cooperatively, or in common, is “infrastructure.” What’s interesting is that historically, the definition of infrastructure has changed and expanded. Whereas once even water supplies were considered a private responsibility, now Americans are accustomed to having government supply water, roads, schools, police, libraries and other functions. Yet, unlike most other advanced societies, we still allow the private market to handle health care, as we once did water and education. In this talk, Marshall gives a history of the changing definition of infrastructure, and suggests that society progresses as this definition expands.

How Cities Work — Using examples from his book, How Cities Work: Suburbs, Sprawl and The Roads Not Taken (University of Texas 2001), Marshall leads audiences through the changing face of city and suburbs, concentrating on examples in The United States. From the growth-management mecca of Portland and Oregon, to the stage-set facades of Celebration, Marshall explains how and why our communities are changing.

Recent Talks

  • “How Hong Kong’s Subway Makes Money: A Model To Emulate?”
    Interview with Andrea Bernstein on the Brian Lehrer Show, WYNC-FM, New York City, Aug. 5, 2011.
  • “Reinventing the Wheel: Improving Urban Transport in the Global City.”
    Symposium sponsored by The New School and La Institut Pour La Ville En Mouvement. Held Oct. 31, 2011, At The New School, West 12th Street, New York City.
  • “Should Cyclists Run Red Lights?”
    Interview on the Brian Lehrer Show, WYNC-FM, New York City, Oct. 22, 2007. Interview about Marshall’s questioning of whether cyclists and pedestrians should obey traffic laws primarily created for the benefit of motorists.
  • “World Views”
    Interview on The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC-FM, New York City. Feb. 16, 2007 about new book, “Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities.”
  • “Richmond’s Future: Global Urban Competition and the Quality of Life.”
    World Affairs Council, Richmond, Va., Dec. 7, 2007.
  • “Transport, Design and the Myths of New Urbanism.”
    Speaking engagements in Sydney, Adelaide and Bribane, Australia. Sponsored by the Urban Development Institute of Australia. Oct. 15 to Oct. 28th, 2006
  • Growth Symposium in Lynchburg, Va. May 2006
  • “Green Building and Green Infrastructure.”
    Council of Green Buildings, New York City. February 2006
  • “The Vibrant Downtown.”
    Wells Fargo Tower, Salt Lake City. April 2005
  • “How Does Your Garden Grow,”
    Iowa Association of Landscape Architects, Des Moines. Talk and slide show on the changing form of cities over the centuries. May 7, 2004
  • “No Santa Claus: The Solutions to Traffic Jams.”
    Conference on Mass Transportation and Traffic, Staten Island University. March 19, 2004
  • “The Exploding Metropolis, The Emerging Metropolis.”
    Keynote speech to the annual conference of the Association of Bay Area Governments, Oakland, California. November, 2002
  • “Transportation: The Architecture of Place,”
    Houston. Evening speech at the Rice Museum of Fine Arts to the Rice Design Alliance. Part of “Open City” Lecture Series.March 20, 2002
  • “In Common: The Changing Definition of Infrastructure,”
    Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va. Annual meeting of the Friends of Old Dominion University Library.
  • “The Roots of Community”
    Albany, New York. Keynote speech to the Quality Community Initiatives Forum, New York State Government. Oct. 30, 2001
  • ” How Cities Work”
    Ottawa, Canada. Smart Growth Summit 2020. June 15, 2001
  • “Journalists Talk About Transportation”
    Columbia University, New York. Event sponsored by The Institute for Urban Design, and the National Arts Journalism Program. Conference organizer and speaker. May 10, 2001
  • Panelist, “Get Me Rewrite:” Media’s Coverage of Design and Landuse.
    Harvard University Graduate School of Design. April 27, 2001