A city is comprised of both people and places. In Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life, author Eric Klinenberg shares how the resilience of communities can be found not just in shared values but in such shared spaces as libraries, child-care centers, playgrounds, and gardens that enable life-transforming human connections.
But while Klinenberg's book extols the virtues of free, shared community spaces, it begs the question: who are these spaces designed for? By definition, public spaces are meant to be open, inclusive, and democratic, but today we see physical, social, and economic barriers that challenge the true nature of public space: economic issues, social and cultural segregation, huge real estate investments, privatization trends, and gentrification processes. As these inequalities persist - and, in some cases, widen - how can we ensure public spaces are designed for and by the people who will use them?
Program Director, Neighborhood Revitalization & Engagement, Cleveland Foundation
Jessica Fox-Gift, CPRP, CPO & CPSI
Manager of Parks and Recreation, Research and Planning, Mayor's Office of Capital Projects (MOCAP), City of Cleveland
Organizer, Neighborhood Connections, and Curator, #AGreaterBuckeye
Shanelle L. Smith Whighamj
State Director, The Trust for Public Land
Vice President, Board of Directors, The City Club of Cleveland