In 1995, Chicago suffered one of its worst heatwaves in history that led to over 700 hundred deaths over a five-day span.
Most of the victims were elderly. People who couldn’t necessarily afford air conditioning or it quit working on them.
What’s interesting to point out, according to Eric Klinenberg, is that some neighborhoods even with similar social-economic status were more prone to have heat-related deaths than others.
One neighborhood had a library and the other didn’t.
The library was a place that the elderly would be seen and be missed when they were gone. And so, the staff would check on their neighbors to make sure they were okay.
Of course, it wasn’t just the library but community centers, movie theaters, grocery stores…places where people come to make a connection.
We are made to connect. Yet, we have built so many layers in our system to avoid each other.
Just look at cubicles and email. All built to hide. To avoid contact.
We crave connection but we don’t want to bump into each other.