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VOTE Manhattan Institute @ SXSW 2020


VOTE Manhattan Institute @ SXSW 2020

August 5, 2019

The Manhattan Institute is proud to propose three panels for next year’s SXSW conference in Austin, Texas—featuring MI’s Reihan Salam, Vanessa Mendoza, Kay Hymowitz, Civil Society Fellows Sharpel Welch and Reid Porter, and others.

We hope you will join us in voting for our impressive slate of panels on the SXSW PanelPicker platform by following the links above.

— Full descriptions —

1. Rebuilding Communities Plagued by Crime & Violence

Public safety is a prerequisite for people to connect and build the relationships necessary for neighborhoods to thrive. This basic human right is taken for-granted in affluent areas, but is a harsh reality in struggling neighborhoods. When communities are plagued by crime and violence, people live in fear, isolate themselves, and become prisoners in their own homes. Police, residents, and civil society organizations—nonprofits that bring people together to solve social challenges—all play an integral role in improving public safety, taking back public spaces, and empowering community members. This panel will discuss how we can reduce crime and violence and strengthen neighborhoods by fostering positive social norms, meaningful relationships, and community trust.


  • Vanessa Mendoza, Executive Vice President, Manhattan Institute
  • Sharpel Welch, Community Coordinator, Community Renewal International
  • Reid Porter, Founder and President of Act (Advocates for Community Transformation)

2. Why America’s Great Cities Need a Column B

Much has been said and written about the rural-urban divide in America, but less has been said about city governments and their lack of ideological diversity. Fiorello LaGuardia once observed that “there is no Republican or Democratic way of cleaning the streets,” but in recent years local elections have been less about cleaning the streets than about national culture-war controversies. The result is that most of our major urban centers have become political monocultures where a small number of voters—in many cases, a small number of primary voters—are driving rigidly ideological agendas that fail to reflect the pragmatism of many, if not most, city-dwellers. Is it possible to make local elections about local issues, and to restore meaningful political competition to our great cities?


  • Reihan Salam, President, Manhattan Institute
  • Mick Cornett, former Mayor of Oklahoma City and author of The Next American City: The Big Promise of Our Midsize Metros
  • Jonathan Rodden, Professor of Political Science at Stanford and author of Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide

3. Are You Lonesome Tonight?

The experts tell us people all over the developed world are in the throes of a loneliness epidemic. US Public-health officials say that loneliness is now killing more people than smoking. Japanese media tracks “lonely deaths,” bodies of “kinless” men and women left for weeks and months. The British government has even appointed a Minister of Loneliness. This panel will map the terrain of loneliness and show how dissolving family ties have corroded individual lives and community life, fueling an opioid crisis and “deaths of despair.