This talk examines the emerging infrastructure and market for automobiles in Southeast Asia with a focus on Vietnam, and how the public and experts are anticipating them in the wake of the ASEAN Free Trade Area and other trade agreements and policies that are opening markets and reshaping urban and peri-urban transportation landscapes and everyday living patterns. Drawing on research conducted between 2013 and 2021 with potential and current automobile consumers in Vietnam, as well as those who are shaping auto-mobility regimes across Southeast Asia including specialists in marketing, design, engineering, manufacturing and planning, the talk considers the impending socioeconomic impacts of unmitigated automobile consumption and usage. It focuses on the car heavy / friendly cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, as well as regional and global conceptual design and engineering labs in research and development hubs such as Singapore that are mapping the future of mobility.

Ivan V. Small is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University in the United States. He is author of Currencies of Imagination: Channeling Money and Chasing Mobility in Vietnam (Cornell University Press 2019) and co-editor of Money at the Margins: Global Perspectives on Technology, Financial Inclusion and Design (Berghahn Press 2018). He has written numerous peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, op-eds and other publications examining connections between financial, bodily and material mobilities in Southeast Asia and global contexts. Among others, he has been a fellow at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion in California and the Yusof Ishak Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.