Karen Christensen grew up in the Santa Clara (Silicon) Valley and has travelled the world since running away to a commune when she was fourteen, living in London and New York as well as Great Barrington, Massachusetts. She was the senior editor of the 4-volume SAGE Encyclopedia of Community (“Incredibly, this is the first encyclopedia to focus on community as concept and experience, so stands alone in its field as the one title any library must buy to cover this topic. Essential for all readerships.” –CHOICE) and is the author of several popular environmental handbooks, which have been translated into French, German, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai.

She started a popular neighborhood Google Group and before the pandemic hosted monthly face-to-face gatherings in Great Barrington, inspired by the ideas in The Great Good Place. She has also spent a lot of time in China.

Karen writes: Ray admired the writing of Jane Jacobs, especially her first book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In 2013, I was living a couple of blocks from the White Horse Inn and went there for a beer with my son, who took this photo of me sitting where Jane Jacobs sat in 1961 (as shown on the cover of this edition of her book).