Eric Klinenberg has recently published a book "Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life." It's a great read, and very insightful about the importance of real-world physical spaces to communities in the digital age.
While much of the past decade has been spent trying to understand the effects of social media on society, it is equally if not more important to prevent the erosion of our great civic spaces. Community centers, libraries, churches, and parks (to name a few) are places in which community members can gather to physically interact, search for companionship, or simple be "alone" within the community. Active retail corridors designed to create gathering spaces are also exampled of great social infrastructure. In the digital age, these civic spaces have been on the decline or have altogether disappeared.
We believe in the importance of caring for or building anew the social infrastructure in our communities. Outside of working with our clients to reinvigorate old commercial corridors, we actively volunteer for our local library, which is fondly called "the heart of the village." These spaces are important to us, and we see our investment in them as paying off ten-fold in the future. This past week, The Gladwyne Library raised enough funds at the "Library Libations" fundraising event to keep the balance books in the black through the end of the year. We are thankful for the hard work of all of the volunteers, and particularly our hosts at the Union League Guard House, for helping us pull off a successful event.