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.
“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”
“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”
“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