Morris, Eric, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning
Office: 2-317 Lee Hall
Ph.D. in Urban Planning, UCLA (2011); M.A. in Urban Planning, UCLA (2004); B.A. in History and Literature, Harvard University (1989)
About Dr. Morris:
Eric A. Morris is Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning. His primary focus is transportation, particularly how transportation contributes to our quality of life. His current research focuses on transportation and happiness; transportation, time use, and activity patterns; and transportation and access to employment, shopping, food, and medical care. He has a strong interest in transportation equity and disadvantaged populations. He also conducts research in the field of transportation history, and is currently co-authoring a book on the development and financing of the freeway system. Other interests include transportation and land use, transportation finance and economics, transportation policy, and transportation and the environment. He wrote a column on transportation for the New York Times for several years, and now is a regular contributor to the Freakonomics website. He was also the Associate Editor of Access magazine. Before returning to academia he worked as a travel writer, a sports writer, and a television writer and producer.
Dr. Morris in his own words:
Hometown: Chicago, a great “urban planning” place with a lot of civic pride. Definitely helped kindle my interest in cities at a young age.
What I like best about teaching at Clemson: Many things, but I especially enjoy the very low student/teacher ratio. I am able to give plenty of individual attention to students and I really enjoy that I get to know them all personally.
Favorite urban planning movie: John Sayles’ City of Hope. A masterpiece, and packed with urban planning to boot.
Advice for prospective students: I majored in 17th century English history, which everybody told me was the most useless major ever. Years later I sold a pirate show in part because of this. (It’s called Jack of All Trades, extra credit if you’ve seen it :-). The moral of the story: study what you love, everything else will work out.
When not teaching I . . . Have a dominant fantasy basketball team, the Direwolves. League champion the last three years in a row. I teach statistics at Clemson, so students are getting their money’s worth!
What students should take away from my classes: An understanding of the big picture issues: How do we travel? Why do we travel? How do we pay for travel, and when should we spend on it? How does travel affect our cities and lives? Students will have plenty of time to work on more specific, bounded, practical tasks when they are working transportation planners, but their time with us is a special chance to think about big ideas.
Best part of the job: It’s hard to beat a job where you spend your days talking about, reading about, and writing about a topic you find incredibly interesting.
Why I became an urban planner: Played too much SimCity.
Favorite Cities: Many, including Amsterdam, Dublin, Munich, NY, Chicago, Boston, Santa Barbara and Charleston. Greenville SC, where I live now, is at or near the top of the list: walkable, lively, and extremely attractive.
If I wasn’t teaching urban planning I would be . . . Assuming my tryout with the Chicago Bulls didn’t go well, maybe writing a column for the New York Times, which I already got to do for a couple of years.