Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life

Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life Review

An eminent sociologist and bestselling author offers an inspiring blueprint for rebuilding our fractured society.

We are living in a time of deep divisions. Americans are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that the country hasn't seen since the Civil War. Pundits and politicians are calling for us to come together, to find common purpose. But how, exactly, can this be done?

In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg suggests a way forward. He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, bookstores, churches, synagogues, and parks where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed. These are places where people gather and linger, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community. Klinenberg calls this the "social infrastructure" When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves.

Klinenberg takes us around the globe--from a floating school in Bangladesh to an arts incubator in Chicago, from a soccer pitch in Queens to an evangelical church in Houston--to show how social infrastructure is helping to solve some of our most pressing challenges: isolation, crime, education, addiction, political polarization, and even climate change.

Richly reported, elegantly written, and ultimately uplifting, Palaces for the People urges us to acknowledge the crucial role these spaces play in civic life. Our social infrastructure could be the key to bridging our seemingly unbridgeable divides--and safeguarding democracy.

Title:Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Carol

    Gives perspective and case studies regarding social infrastructure. Especially relevant to public libraries and other civic institutions looking for ways to be more welcoming and responsive to their c...

  • Doni

    I enjoyed his tribute to libraries; was skeptical of his pro-corporate solutions such as Gates' donations to create smaller schools. Liberal, not radical, and therefore insufficient targeting of capit...

  • Trish Tomes

    I was excited when I won this book on Goodreads. I want to thank them and Putnam books to get a pre-publication copy of it. It is an excellent book for activists who what to improve their :communities...

  • Paige

    ***I received this book for free from the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.***In "Palaces our the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, ...

  • Jeff Zell

    The book begins with an interesting case study. The summer of 1995 brought a life threatening combination of heat and humidity to Chicago. Many people died as a result. But, the deaths were not unifor...

  • T.L. Cooper

    Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civil Life by Eric Klinenberg delves into the connections that form when infrastructure is...

  • Janaka

    If I could give this book 3.5 stars, I would. Perhaps I went in with erroneous expectations, or perhaps I had already read enough on the subject elsewhere so that there’s wasn’t a lot of revelator...

  • Laura

    I thought this book was fantastic because it provided clear and specific solutions for our current problems of inequity and polarization. What if you could help an entire neighborhood manage stress, ...

  • Pam Kellman

    I checked this book out from my branch library, and after reading it, I'm so grateful for my library! This is a book every voter should read, and a must-read for our elected representatives. Thoroughl...

  • Eddie Choo

    More infrastructure than SocialThis book points to an important idea, about the need for physical spaces for people to come and gather and the role they play in adding more bridging social capital (in...