Third place

In community building, the third place is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home ("first place") and the workplace ("second place"). Examples of third places would be environments such as churches, cafes, clubs, public libraries, or parks. In his influential book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.

Robert Putnam addressed issues related to third place in Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital (1995, 2000).

Oldenburg calls one's "first place" the home and those that one lives with. The "second place" is the workplace — where people may actually spend most of their time. Third places, then, are "anchors" of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction.[1]

Oldenburg suggests the following hallmarks of a true "third place":

Other scholars have summarized Oldenburg view of a third place with a similar eight characteristics:[1][2]

Jeffres et al. (2009) listed the following types of environments as possible third places, considered in their research: community centers, senior centers, coffee shops and cafes, bars and pubs, restaurants, shopping centers, stores, malls, markets, hair salons, barber and beauty shops, recreation centers, YM/WCA, pools, movie theaters, churches, schools, colleges and universities, clubs and organizations, libraries, parks and other places allowing for outdoor recreation, streets, neighbors’ yards, homes and apartments, and events like neighborhood parties, block parties, cookouts, barbecues, town meetings, bingo, and various media (online, newsletters, newspapers, phone, bulletin boards).[3]

The concept of a "third place" has become popularized and has been picked up by various small businesses, including as a name for various locally owned coffee shops, and is commonly cited in urban planning literature on the issue of community-oriented business development and public space.[4][5]

As "third place" becomes more popular, several coworking office spaces have embraced this concept as the basis of their interior design.[6][7][8]

This page was last edited on 11 June 2018, at 09:44 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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