Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life
In this keynote based on Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg guides audiences through his deeply researched conception of social infrastructure, and how we can build it together. The future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces, he explains. The libraries, childcare centers, bookstores, places of worship, and parks are where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed. These places where people gather and linger, making friends across group lines, strengthen the entire community. When strong, neighborhoods flourish; when neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves. This talk offers a timely and empathetic blueprint for change, showing how social infrastructure is helping solve some of our most pressing challenges: isolation, crime, education, addiction, political polarization, and even climate change.