Eric Klinenberg

The future of democratic societies rests not just on shared values, but our shared spaces.

Author of Palaces for the People and Going Solo, and Co-Author of NYT Bestseller Modern Romance with Aziz Ansari,

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Eric Klinenberg | Author of Palaces for the People and Going Solo, and Co-Author of NYT Bestseller Modern Romance with Aziz Ansari,
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

We are living in a time of deep divisions. People are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that we haven’t seen since the Civil War. In his charismatic and perceptive talks, sociologist and bestselling author Eric Klinenberg suggests a way forward, drawing on the evidence collected in his eye-opening new book, Palaces for the People

“Wow. A comprehensive, entertaining, and compelling argument for how rebuilding social infrastructure can help heal divisions in our society and move us forward.”

— Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show

An innovative and optimistic speaker, Klinenberg’s unique research sheds light on  demographic, social, and environmental transformations. A professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, Klinenberg’s body of work is of a piece with the brand new Palaces for the People. In his first book Heat Wave, he looked at the future of cities in the age of climate change. In Going Solo, he charted the societal impact of people who live alone. His most recent book, The New York Times bestseller Modern Romance (co-authored with comedian Aziz Ansari), explores the ways we find love today. All together, Klinenberg offers audiences a spectrum of human life, as indivuals and in groups—how we live, and how we live together.  


“Klinenberg persuasively illustrates the vital role [space plays] in repairing civic life ‘in an era characterized by urgent social needs and gridlock stemming from political polarization.’”

— Publisher’s Weekly

Klinenberg is a lively presence on stage, with a knack for finding humor and insight in the moment. He has appeared on myriad TV programs and podcasts (like This American Life) and has written for The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. In his much-discussed New Yorker article, which appeared after Hurricane Sandy, Klinenberg looked at how to “climate-proof” cities, and explored the importance of communities and social networks during disasters. Palaces for the People will be released this fall from Penguin Random House

Speech Topics

The Art of Connecting From Modern Romance to Family, Community, and Work

If we put so much effort into love and often get it wrong, what are we doing at work, in our community, in politics, and within our families? What are the deeper implications of how changes in contemporary life shape the way we relate to others? And how is that little device you carry with you wherever you go affecting the people you work with, the way you communicate, and the success of your company, and the people you care about most?

The art of connecting has fundamentally changed. In the world of modern romance, texting, Tinder, and life on-screen have taken over—creating a sea of complicated human interactions, in which so many of us struggle with miscommunication and self-doubt. But, as the eminent sociologist Eric Klinenberg and the comedic genius Aziz Ansari show in their best-selling book, Modern Romance, these same technological tools can also help us forge deep bonds, lasting relationships, and—ultimately—love. Klinenberg’s research vividly illustrates what looking for love tells about about who we are and who we want to be. In this talk, Klinenberg takes it even further to ask how new social norms and the emergence of ubiquitous social media have changed our lives in general?

Climate Science
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.

The New Consumer
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.

Cities & Neighborhoods
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.

Health & Wellness
Modern Romance
Algorithms are helping us find our soulmates. First dates are taking place on screens instead of at bars. Text messages are the new love letters. The landscape of romance has been forever altered by changes in culture and technology. To help us navigate this new world, comedic genius Aziz Ansari teamed up with acclaimed sociologist Eric Klinenberg to create the book Modern Romance. Over the course of its writing they conducted hundreds of interviews, crunched countless amounts of data, and spoke with some of the sharpest minds in social science. What does our search for love tell us about who we want to be? And how does that compare to who we think we are? With this entertaining and deeply insightful talk, Klinenberg draws from the book to answer that eternal question: What’s love got to do with it?