Palaces for the People

Tuesday, November 27, 2018  5:30pm The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room

Listen to the podcast here.

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 together, to find common purpose. But how, exactly, can this be done?
In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg suggests a way forward. He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, bookstores, churches, synagogues, and parks where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed. These are places where people gather and linger, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community. Klinenberg calls this the “social infrastructure”: When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves.


  • Speaker

    Eric Klinenberg

    Professor of Sociology

    New York University

  • Respondent

    Bruce Robbins

    Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities

    Columbia University

  • Respondent

    Shamus Khan

    Professor of Sociology

    Columbia University

  • Respondent

    Kate Orff

    Associate Professor & Director, Urban Design Program

    Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

  • Chair

    Sharon Marcus

    Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature

    Columbia University


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