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  • Published: 19 March 2020
  • ISBN: 9781784707514
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $19.99

Palaces for the People

How To Build a More Equal and United Society

A transformative new idea for healing social division from one of the world's foremost experts

How can we bring people together?

Sociologist and best-selling author Eric Klinenberg introduces a transformative and powerfully uplifting new idea for health, happiness, safety and healing our divided, unequal society.

'This wonderful book shows us how democracies thrive' Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt, authors of How Democracies Die

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. Why? Because 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 - and where communities are strong, people are safer and healthier, crime drops and commerce thrives, and peace, tolerance and stability take root.

Through uplifting human stories and an illuminating tour through the science of social connection, Palaces for the People shows that properly designing and maintaining this 'social infrastructure' might be our single best strategy for a more equal and united society.

  • Published: 19 March 2020
  • ISBN: 9781784707514
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Eric Klinenberg

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 recent number one bestseller Modern Romance.

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Praise for Palaces for the People

This wonderful book shows us how democracies thrive

Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt, authors of How Democracies Die

Fantastic ... both idealistic and, in its myriad examples, pragmatic, and delightfully readable

Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me

This book is full of hope, which is all the more striking because Klinenberg is a realist. He is a major social thinker, and this is a beautifully written, major book

Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman

An important book for our difficult age. In very unequal societies, where the social fabric has been torn apart, it is vitally important to bring people together. Eric Klinenberg shows us how this can be done

Kate Pickett, co-author of The Spirit Level and The Inner Level

Klinenberg’s observations hold as true for Brexit Britain as they do for Trump’s America ... In ripping out our social infrastructure, we are outraging a wisdom that goes back centuries and spans countries ... Our people deserve palaces" Aditya Chakrabortty

Aditya Chakrabortty

An essential book, about some of the most important aspects of modern living

Renzo Piano, architect of the Pompidou Centre and the Shard

A comprehensive, entertaining and compelling argument

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show

Brilliant and important ... combines a Jane Jacobs-eye on city life with knowledge of the latest research and practical ideas to address the crucial issues of the day

Arlie Hochschild author of Strangers in Their Own Land

A calm, lucid exposition of a centuries-old idea, which is really a furious call to action

John Harris, New Statesman

Timely and important ... Klinenberg, an optimist, tells heartwarming stories ... No reasonable person could not want these things


Significant and engaging ... It’s easy to write about the importance of local social life. It’s harder to know what to do to support it ... Klinenberg’s argument has a powerful simplicity

Financial Times

A vision of the good city ... At the heart of the book is that idea of the library or park rather than the market as the place where urban life is lived at its best

Owen Hatherley, Guardian

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