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:

  • Vanessa (splitreads)

    3.5. Overall, the ideas Klinenberg poses and the research he references are interesting and gets one thinking of what we need to do to create a better future society. Social infrastructure is a philos...

  • Stephanie (That's What She Read)

    I couldn't think of a better book to read in January. I really feel inspired to become more involved in my community. This book is about the importance of social infastructure and how it can significa...

  • 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...

  • Brigid

    "Libraries stand for and exemplify something that needs defending: the public institutions that -- even in an age of atomization and inequality -- serve as bedrocks of civil society. Libraries are the...

  • Joe

    Sociologist Eric Klinenberg makes a persuasive argument for the strengthening of America's "social infrastructure" - the places where people gather to share experiences across social divides and stren...

  • 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...

  • Shawn Thrasher

    If it seems like the world really sucks right now, Eric Klinenberg knows why: the fraying of social infrastructure. Social infrastructure is Social infrastructure is "a set of physical places and orga...

  • Vanessa Ames

    A really great read about social infrastructure and healthy communities. My interest in this particular title came from an essay by the author and I enjoyed reading more about his sociological observa...

  • Mike Stolfi

    Yes! Let's fund libraries again because people need them, & a lot more social infrastructure as well.A virtual life pales in comparison to an actual one....