eric klinenberg

eric klinenberg.png

intro’d to Eric here:

Prof Laura Vaughan (@urban_formation) tweeted at 6:04 AM – 8 Oct 2018 :
Looking forward to this talk from @EricKlinenberg about social infrastructure @RSAEvents Impressively full room for a weekday lunchtime #RSAsociety (

book on hold – thanks library – palaces for the people

livestream: []

eric starts at 7 min

9 min – if we keep saying.. the house is on fire.. and how horrible those other people are for getting us there.. . we’re not going to get anywhere.. we need a to change the convo.. of what a diff society would be like..

13 min – (chicago) diff in death rate wasn’t nature/demographics of the people..  in most vulnerable there were  ie: abandoned homes & empty lots.. very little to draw you out into public areas..  other areas that looked like should have high death rates.. but w lively sidewalk culture.. very little abandoned .. lively libraries.. so.. everyday people come out.. interact.. bumping into each other.. community develops.. more likely to survive ie: heat wave.. have a long life..

15 min – social infra – physical places/orgs that shape our interactions

17 min – we have neglected social infra..  we’ve become more atomized/polarized

18 min – (ny) on hurricane sandy

19 min – on building infra – (research director for us) ..need for social infra.

20 min – blow up the idea of a wall..

21 min – the big u

22 min – resilience center.. this group (while describing center as a library) had forgotten about the library

24 min – so i took them to libraries doing a great many things they were talking about.. palaces for the people – carnegie’s idea of what libraries should be

library ness

25 min – a day in a life of library a parade of people who come thru the library who see it as a resilience center all the time.. libraries are doing all these amazing things

26 min – on essay writer saying.. library is obsolete.. replace w amazon

27 min – imagine we had no such thing as a library.. by virtue of your humanity.. gives you access of our shared cultural heritage for free.. citizenship status doesn’t matter.. today.. that idea is so out of sync w who we have become..

forbes had to take article down.. so many librarians/people wrote in

28 min – carnegie not only a philanthropist.. did some nasty things on the side.. he had a decidedly mixed record – need to tell both stories.. but today i’m talking about.. his side that built palaces..

29 min – also.. palaces.. not enough.. we have enormous work to do

30 min – will be spending trillions a year to keep up w infra.. clearly inadequate to date

31 min – reason i wrote book – 2 things i think we agree on.. 1\ infra broken 2\ society broken


37 min – a commercial eatery can prove to be very inaccessible to some.. if private sector going to be part of social infra.. has to be open and accessible

39 min – the thing is.. sm really only become helpful in most cases.. when they help you consummate a f 2 f interaction w a living person in real life.. t

2 convers as infra.. tech as it could be..

i realize not for all ie: in small community and an outlier.. online can be huge.. but for most of us.. friends on fb and followers on twitter.. is an unsatisfying way to be in the world..

40 min – the people who understand the power of irl social infra more than anyone else.. are the people who own the biggest sm co’s..  ie: fb, google, apple campuses.. largest investments in social infra..  all kinds of shared spaces.. everything designed for real life interactions.. serendipitous encounters..

41 min – all these guys are trying to figure out how to get people to commit to the place of work.. and you do it by creating an environ that foster relationships..t

yeah that for sure.. but also.. redefine work – so that it’s not about solving other people’s problems for pay..

what we need most is the energy of 7bn alive people.. figure that out then ‘trying to get people to commit’ becomes irrelevant

an undisturbed ecosystem.. in the city.. as the day.. via gershenfeld something else law..

44 min – what if we had addressed the broken windows project by fixing the windows.. people have been researching this for a decade.. treated places.. ie: abandoned buildings.. 39% reduction in crime

48 min – can’t do good infra from top down.. only way is by paying attention to how people live and listening to what people want..t

yeah.. we have the means to listen to every voice.. every day.. ie: tech as it could be..

52 min – we are in a moment of crisis right now.. a lot of my work is to figure out how to deal w climate change.. i think we’re in a reckoning/pivot moment.. we don’t sustain ourselves w a reorg of society

54 min – point of book is not: if we build these places.. it will solve our problems.. ie: if build library need to program it and maintain it..

55 min – daughter in amazon store.. she felt she needed so many things.. then went to library – it was closed was sunday..  why..

57 min – i think many communities.. given the chance.. would tax selves to get some of these resources back

58 min – not one thing you can do.. try this.. so many want to complain about things..  the situation.. turn it in the other direction.. start to talk about something we can seize upon..

59 min – i’m reporting in the book about places that have invested in these places.. every day i wanted to give up..i would walk into a library

1:00 – i’m done w the complaint.. call attention to things going right..


as it could be..

2 convers.. as infra

ie: hlb via 2 convers that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

the energy of 7bn alive people

undisturbed ecosystem

in the city.. as the day..

gershenfeld something else law


1 hr convo – Eric Klinenberg and Dorian Warren discuss his new book – palaces for the people –  at strand bookstore – sept 2018


12 min – (Dorian Warren): this book is really a love note to libraries

15 min – a lot of people i know don’t realize what’s going on in libraries

16 min – whenever you’re in a down moment .. go to a library.. carnegie – everyone walking thru doors to better themselves.. and have means to do so

18 min – if we didn’t have the library today.. it’s not the kind of thing we’d create in this time when we trust market/tech.. to spend money building beautiful buildings and giving people stuff for free.. i don’t know if library could exist if not invented already..t

library ness

19 min – libraries are taking on too many things.. one thing we could call for is more resilience centers

24 min – get to library few minutes before it opens.. amazing


27 min – on the destructive power of empty lots and abandoned buildings.. the way that they really transform an urban landscape and make it feel precarious.. depletion.. a big issue.. an amazing experiment to do here.. t

empty buildings

30 min – it’s not that the crime gets displaced.. it just doesn’t happen.. crime is situational.. (not) outcome of individuals who have criminal dispositions.. it’s about situations.. if you change the situation by treating the place you can do a tremendous amount..t

cure ios city

31 min – we’ve focused so much on punishing people and not enough on fixing places.. t

in the city.. as the day..

33 min – imagine if we would have taken 1st two.. abandoned property and broken windows.. imagine we just fixed them up.. easier/cheaper to fix places than people (impossible to fix people)

37 min – basically the test we are running.. a really stupid way to learn about vulnerability: we have a massive disaster a see who dies.. t

39 min – think about our collective reaction architecturally to sept 11.. we try to do w infra build a set of protective systems.. big walls, security guards, cameras.. i don’t know if they’ve protected.. but we know for sure they have made life in nyc far less pleasant and efficient than used to be.. this kind of militarized architecture..t

40 min – if we just try to block things from coming in.. we will do for climate security what we did for terrorism/homeland security.. and will feel like live in more militarized/hostile place.. but if have concept like social infra and take it seriously.. t

44 min – we’ve created some beautiful palaces for a select number of people and a lot of us feel shut out.. and it doesn’t have to be that way..

45 min – (dorian): carnegie was a bastard.. bloodiest in labor..  yet he comes out in your esteem very high.. and zuckerberg doesn’t fair so well in book.. tell us why

46 min – zuck saying fb here as social infra for 21st cent – so invitation .. very convenient that solution to humanities problems is to spend time/money on my business..

47 min – so too.. the fb campus.. people who design those campuses.. googleplex.. et al.. designed to make work place where community can build.. the reason google bus such a horrible symbol of everything wrong.. co’s have created a private infra.. that works on top of shared infra.. for sole purpose who want to work at high tech co also want to live in mission district.. watch people get on these beautiful buses.. and you’re not part of that.. so.. told by zuck.. you have your fb.. and we have this palace.. i think that’s disingenuous

50 min – i do have an agenda.. i do think there’s a better thing we could be building..

me too.. and i think mostly.. we have to build something for everyone.. which begs a means to listen to everyone.. every day..

ie: tech as it could be..

2 convers as infra

let’s just facil daily curiosity ie: cure ios city

51 min – q&a

57 min – we dump everything on library.. and it’s amazing how well they deal with it.. but also.. horrible things there.. ie: why don’t we invest in homeless shelters..

1:03 – my goal w the book is to start a diff conversation.. and it is really hard to start a diff conver these days.. exhausting to be stuck in same conver.. we have to decide what kind of world we want to live.. t

and decide new everyday.. ie: 2 convers as infra


find/follow Eric:

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NYU sociologist. Director . Books include Heat Wave, Going Solo, Modern Romance (w ), and Palaces for the People, out 9/2018.


his site:

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an American sociologist and a scholar of urban studies, culture, and media. He is best known for his contributions as a public sociologist.