How Do We Rebuild Our Social Infrastructure in Cities? Aditya Chakrabortty and Eric Klinenberg
Sociologist and best-selling author Eric Klinenberg and commentator Aditya Chakrabortty debate new ideas for health, happiness, safety and healing our divided, unequal society.
Too often we take for granted and neglect our libraries, parks, markets, schools, playgrounds, gardens and communal spaces, but decades of research now shows that these places can have an extraordinary effect on our personal and collective wellbeing.
Wherever people cross paths and linger, wherever we gather informally, strike up a conversation and get to know one another, relationships blossom and communities emerge. Where communities are strong, people are safer and healthier; crime drops and commerce thrives; democracy is enhanced; and peace, tolerance and stability take root. Properly designing and maintaining this ‘social infrastructure’ might be our single best strategy for a more equal and united society.
Buy a copy of Eric Klinenberg’s Palaces for the People: How to Build a More Equal and United Society from Waterstones, our bookselling partners.
Aditya Chakrabortty is a senior economics commentator for the Guardian, where he writes a regular column and reports from around Britain about key societal issues and ways to make the economy work for everyone. In December 2017, he won the British Journalism Award for Comment Journalist of the year. His work has also won a Social Policy Association award, a Harold Wincott prize for Business Journalism and was shortlisted for an Orwell Prize for journalism in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020. He has been a journalist for over 20 years, working previously at the BBC and appearing as a regular broadcaster on radio and television.
Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute of Public Knowledge at New York University. His pioneering research into the power of social infrastructure led to his appointment in 2013 as Research Director for President Obama’s $1 billion programme to rebuild the region affected by Superstorm Sandy. He is the multi-award winning author of several books including, as co-author, the bestseller Modern Romance and, more recently, Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization and the Decline of Civic Life.
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