Sociologist and Author of Heat Wave and Going Solo
Klinenberg's broad, sweeping ideas straddle multiple disciplines. In an influential and much-discussed New Yorker article on whether cities can be “climate-proofed,” Klinenberg encourages us to look for inspiration globally, citing Rotterdam and Singapore’s intelligent solutions for prevention as models for innovation. Perhaps most importantly, he analyzes the importance of communities, leaders, and social networks during disasters. On stage, Klinenberg conducts what he calls a “social autopsy” and asks how the social, political, and institutional organs of a city can be made more resilient—or, without planning, more frail—before the next crisis. His groundbreaking work opens up new, productive possibilities for cities, communities, and corporations that are coping with climate change.
Klinenberg’s creative approach to social analysis is also apparent in his new book Going Solo. In the book, which a recent TIME Magazine cover story featured as the #1 Idea That is Changing Your Life and The Atlantic called the year’s "Most Conversation-Generating Book about How We Live Now,” Klinenberg assesses the reasons why so many people are choosing to live on their own, as well as the challenges and opportunities this change creates. In his keynotes, Klinenberg explains how this seismic shift in lifestyle has transformed our personal lives, our families, our cities, and our economy, and argues that solo living is the biggest modern social transformation we've failed to name or identify.
Adaptation: Superstorms, Climate Change, and the Future of Cities
Why wasn’t the Eastern Seaboard better prepared for Hurricane Sandy? Why did seven hundred and thirty-nine people die in Chicago’s 1995 heat wave? Instances of natural disasters are on the rise, and few places are ready. In this talk, Eric Klinenberg draws on his recent New Yorker article “Adaptation” and his book on the great Chicago heat wave to explore the concept of “climate-proofing” our cities. He provides a dramatic, tragic story of what can happen when cities and nations fail to learn from previous disasters, and an argument for how they can use recent history and cutting-edge science to become more resilient and better prepared. Should we be scared of climate change? Yes, of course, says Klinenberg. But let’s use that fear to drive change and build stronger, more agile cities that benefit from intelligent and climate-proof design.
Going Solo: How the Biggest Demographic Change Since the Baby Boom is Changing the Way We Live
The biggest demographic change since the baby boom is in full swing, and no one seems to be talking about it. Except for Eric Klinenberg. The rise of single living in the U.S.—where 50% of all adults now live in single households—and the rest of the Western world is drastically changing our economy, our cities, and the way we communicate.
In this eye-opening talk, Klinenberg shows us the sweeping societal changes that accompany the trend of single living. How is the increased demand for single living spaces changing our urban landscapes? Why are singles more connected to their social network than married and common law couples? And, most importantly, what are the causes of this drastic shift in lifestyle? Klinenberg unravels our half-century journey towards a more single society, and sheds light on why this trend is likely here to stay.
The Solo Economy: How the Rise of Singles and Singletons is Changing Business
As the rates of single-living adults continues to rise in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan, Eric Klinenberg outlines how the biggest demographic shift since the baby boom is dramatically reshaping our economy. From the real estate industry, to grocery stores, to the automotive industry, people living alone have unique needs and wants that—until now—have gone largely unfulfilled. The shift to single-unit, inner-city living has reinvigorated the hospitality industry, as cafes, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues provide opportunities for socially connected singles to meet friends, both new and old.
The demand for smaller living spaces with more amenities has allowed forward-thinking retailers, like Ikea, to grow through product lines designed for people who live alone. The lack of recognition for the massive move to solo living has provided a huge opportunity for companies looking to serve the ever-growing market of singles. Sharing the cutting edge business trends gathered from his research, Klinenberg gives audiences clear strategies on how to take advantage of the huge demographic and economic changes that are reshaping our society.
Solo Cities: How the Rise of Singles and Singletons is Changing Cities
As the demand for solo living spaces continues to climb throughout the Western world, cities are beginning to change. In this talk, Eric Klinenberg explains how the move to a more single-dominated world is reshaping the way we live together. How are the demands of solo residents changing the way we build? How does a more single population change public transportation policy? And how are higher concentrations of single person households changing neighborhoods in cities around the world? Klinenberg draws from his first hand research to break down the many ways singletons are changing cities, and shows us what the cities of the future will look like if these trends continue.
Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone
A revelatory examination of the most significant demographic shift since the Baby Boom--the sharp increase in the number of people who live alone--that offers surprising insights on the benefits of this epochal change In 1950, only 22 percent of American adults were single. Today, more than 50 percent of American adults are single, and 31 million--roughly one out of every seven adults--live alone. People who live alone make up 28 percent of all U.S. households, which makes them more common than any other domestic unit, including the nuclear family.
In GOING SOLO, renowned sociologist and author Eric Klinenberg proves that these numbers are more than just a passing trend. They are, in fact, evidence of the biggest demographic shift since the Baby Boom: we are learning to go solo, and crafting new ways of living in the process. Klinenberg explores the dramatic rise of solo living, and examines the seismic impact it's having on our culture, business, and politics. Though conventional wisdom tells us that living by oneself leads to loneliness and isolation, Klinenberg shows that most solo dwellers are deeply engaged in social and civic life. In fact, compared with their married counterparts, they are more likely to eat out and exercise, go to art and music classes, attend public events and lectures, and volunteer. There's even evidence that people who live alone enjoy better mental health than unmarried people who live with others and have more environmentally sustainable lifestyles than families, since they favor urban apartments over large suburban homes.
Drawing on over three hundred in-depth interviews with men and women of all ages and every class, Klinenberg reaches a startling conclusion: in a world of ubiquitous media and hyperconnectivity, this way of life can help us discover ourselves and appreciate the pleasure of good company. With eye-opening statistics, original data, and vivid portraits of people who go solo, Klinenberg upends conventional wisdom to deliver the definitive take on how the rise of living alone is transforming the American experience. GOING SOLO is a powerful and necessary assessment of an unprecedented social change.
Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media
A groundbreaking investigative work by a critically acclaimed sociologist on the corporate takeover of local news and what it means for all Americans.
For the residents of Minot, North Dakota, Clear Channel Communications is synonymous with disaster. Early in the morning of January 18, 2002, a train derailment sent a cloud of poisonous gas drifting toward the small town. Minot's fire and rescue departments attempted to reach Clear Channel, which owned and operated all six local commercial radio stations, to warn residents of the approaching threat. But in the age of canned programming and virtual DJs, there was no one in the conglomerate's studio to take the call. The people of Minot were taken unawares. The result: one death and more than a thousand injuries.
Opening with the story of the Minot tragedy, Eric Klinenberg's Fighting for Air takes us into the world of preprogrammed radio shows, empty television news stations, and copycat newspapers to show how corporate ownership and control of local media has remade American political and cultural life. Klinenberg argues that the demise of truly local media stems from the federal government's malign neglect, as the agencies charged with ensuring diversity and open competition have ceded control to the very conglomerates that consistently undermine these values and goals. Such "big media" may not be here to stay, however.
Fighting for Air delivers a call to action, revealing a rising generation of new media activists and citizen journalists--a coalition of liberals and conservatives--who are demanding and even creating the local coverage they need and deserve.
Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago
On Thursday, July 13, 1995, Chicagoans awoke to a blistering day in which the temperature would reach 106 degrees. The heat index, which measures how the temperature actually feels on the body, would hit 126 degrees by the time the day was over. Meteorologists had been warning residents about a two-day heat wave, but these temperatures did not end that soon. When the heat wave broke a week later, city streets had buckled; the records for electrical use were shattered; and power grids had failed, leaving residents without electricity for up to two days. And by July 20, over seven hundred people had perished--more than twice the number that died in the Chicago Fire of 1871, twenty times the number of those struck by Hurricane Andrew in 1992-- in the great Chicago heat wave, one of the deadliest in American history.
Heat waves in the United States kill more people during a typical year than all other natural disasters combined. Until now, no one could explain either the overwhelming number or the heartbreaking manner of the deaths resulting from the 1995 Chicago heat wave. Meteorologists and medical scientists have been unable to account for the scale of the trauma, and political officials have puzzled over the sources of the city's vulnerability. In Heat Wave, Eric Klinenberg takes us inside the anatomy of the metropolis to conduct what he calls a "social autopsy," examining the social, political, and institutional organs of the city that made this urban disaster so much worse than it ought to have been. Starting with the question of why so many people died at home alone, Klinenberg investigates why some neighborhoods experienced greater mortality than others, how the city government responded to the crisis, and how journalists, scientists, and public officials reported on and explained these events.
Through a combination of years of fieldwork, extensive interviews, and archival research, Klinenberg uncovers how a number of surprising and unsettling forms of social breakdown--including the literal and social isolation of seniors, the institutional abandonment of poor neighborhoods, and the retrenchment of public assistance programs--contributed to the high fatality rates. The human catastrophe, he argues, cannot simply be blamed on the failures of any particular individuals or organizations. For when hundreds of people die behind locked doors and sealed windows, out of contact with friends, family, community groups, and public agencies, everyone is implicated in their demise.
As Klinenberg demonstrates in this incisive and gripping account of the contemporary urban condition, the widening cracks in the social foundations of American cities that the 1995 Chicago heat wave made visible have by no means subsided as the temperatures returned to normal. The forces that affected Chicago so disastrously remain in play in America's cities, and we ignore them at our peril.
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