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How Place Shapes Our Politics

Political scientist and author Ryan Enos explains how geography can sharpen political conflicts.
A mural at a restaurant in the Mexican Town district of Detroit
A mural at a restaurant in the Mexican Town district of DetroitCarlos Osorio/AP

We urbanists are obsessed with place. So it may be hard for us to believe that the connection between physical space and urbanization has been neglected by much of social science, outside of urban economics, urban planning, and urban geography. Indeed, place and geography have been notoriously absent from the greater field of political science.

That’s why the research of political scientist Ryan Enos is so interesting. An associate professor at Harvard’s Department of Government, Enos focuses on the geographic or spatial underpinnings of politics. His new book, The Space Between Us, dives deep into how the places we live influence our politics.