Finding solidarity in disaster
The Atlantic - 09/01/2015
Yet that does not mean that government policy is unimportant. Daniel Aldrich, a political scientist, showed that in a series of Asian disasters, villages with stronger and more participatory local government rebuilt faster and better. Building infrastructure for tighter and more successful communities is the business of government, and it can be pursued through policies ranging from zoning to education to labor relations to transportation. Government should—as a matter of disaster preparedness—build communities that foster and encourage connection and solidarity. That means, as in Klinenberg’s Chicago, safe neighborhoods where people are unafraid of either criminals or the police, multi-purpose community centers, and bustling streets that encourage lingering with strangers. Most of all, it means countering the radical individualism that is dominant in contemporary society.