Time to Take Back the Toilet (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 12 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, first: we’re not asking that using a public restroom be a pleasant experience, but are there ways to make it less miserable? And then: how did the belt, an organ-squeezing belly tourniquet, become part of our everyday wardrobe — and what other sub-optimal solutions do we […]

Time to Take Back the Toilet

Season 5, Episode 7

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, first: we’re not asking that using a public restroom be a pleasant experience, but are there ways to make it less miserable? And then: how did the belt, an organ-squeezing belly tourniquet, become part of our everyday wardrobe and what other suboptimal solutions do we routinely put up with?

The gist: public bathrooms -- when you can find one -- are often noisy and poorly designed. In this episode, we explore the history of the public restroom, the taboos that accompany it, and the public-health risks of paying too little attention to the lowly toilet.

Time to Take Back the Toilet: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

We're not asking that using a public restroom be a pleasant experience, but are there ways to make it less miserable? That's one of the questions we ask in our latest Freakonomics Radio episode, "Time to Take Back the Toilet." (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

Public bathrooms are noisy, poorly designed, and often nonexistent. In this episode, we explore the history of the public restroom, the taboos that accompany it, and the public-health risks of paying too little attention to the lowly toilet. (In India, for instance, more households have phones than toilets.) Along the way, we learn about the design of public spaces and how their environments are shaped, particularly by sound.