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Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life
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Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  83 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
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 tog
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)
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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 community. Very timely and useful.

I took a star off because I found the text somewhat rambling and roundabout. I thought it would be much more useful to divide chapters by type of institution, so those reading for institutional purposes could easily find what they're looking for. I did see an indicat
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Trish Tomes
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Most of the examples given are from big cities, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Singapore. The surprising entry was from Iceland but nothing like that is possible in the US. Their communal swimming pools reminded me of the baths of ancient Rome and Greece that still are popular in Turkey and Hun
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Doni
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
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 capitalism's fundamental flaws.
Paige
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
***I received this book for free from the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.***

In "Palaces our the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life," Eric Klineberg adroitly argues the importance of social infrastructure, a phrase he defines as, "the physical conditions that determine whether social capital develops" (5). The book, which is divided into six chapters--not including the introduction and conclusion--a
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Laura
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: landscape architects, library lovers, community organizers
I thought this book was fantastic because it provided clear and specific solutions for our current problems of inequity and polarization. What if you could help an entire neighborhood manage stress, depression and anxiety by increasing access to green space and public gardens? What if you could improve health outcomes for communities by fostering spaces for social connection? What if you coud increase the chance of surviving the next catastrophic storm while creating beautiful new parks? Well, ...more
Pam Kellman
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I checked this book out from my branch library, and after reading it, I'm so grateful for my library! This is a book every voter should read, and a must-read for our elected representatives. Thoroughly researched and written in such an accessible, readable language, Klinenberg combines social science with anecdotes of lived experiences to show why social infrastructure is just as important for our country's health and future as improvements to our decaying infrastructure. An especially poignant ...more
Morgan
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book, particularly for its focus on the theory of social infrastructure. This approach was not practical but I think we have to know "why" before "how," which is partially Klinenberg's goal in writing. This book is important and I would recommend it to anyone. Although the author is a sociologist, his writing is accessible (without dumbing things down). I will say that each chapter kind of functions as its own essay so it is may not be necessary to read the whole book. The whole b ...more
Seth
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author describes how social infrastructure is critical for the well being of humans. Social infrastructure, basically, is any place that people can build a support network (i.e. libraries). The decline of social infrastructure, the author argues, diminishes support networks, and make us less tolerant of differing beliefs leading to the current rifts in America. Palaces for the People is well written, well researched, and a little redundant. I also do not like how the author gives only exampl ...more
Carl
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting sociological study on social infrastructure. I received it from a Giveaways Contest. This book explains social infrastructure and gives antidotal evidence on the merits of the topic. It was an interesting study and one that should be read by those interested in sociology, urban studies, and communities.
Matthew Noe
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this at ALA. And because Eric focuses a lot on libraries, I'm naturally a little biased toward loving this.

But let's put it this way: I enjoyed it so much and want to return to it for future work, I'll be buying a copy even though I have the ARC.
Cindy
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great defense of public libraries ! !
Lisa
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing!
Sara
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are some great chapters about libraries as a community hub.
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Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology; Public Policy; and Media, Culture, and Communications at New York University. He is the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press, 2012), Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media (Metropolitan Books, 2007), and Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chica ...more