High-Amenity Districts Create a Happier, Healthier, and More Reciprocal Civil Society


Ryan Streeter, City Journal

In their influential 1977 essay, “To Empower People”, Peter Berger and Richard John Neuhaus proposed that four mediating structures were essential for a healthy and prosperous democratic society: neighborhoods, families, congregations, and voluntary associations. These types of associational institutions create environments in which people care for one another, solve problems, build trust, and cultivate standards on which democratic life depends. These structures, Berger and Neuhaus argued, “have a private face, giving private life a measure of stability, and they have a public face, transferring meaning and value to the megastructures” of the state and, at times, corporations.

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