The Third Place

Ray Oldenberg 1989 - The Great Good Place

Social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home ("first place") and the workplace ("second place”) Third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place i.e. churches, cafes, clubs, public libraries, bookstores or parks Highlighted as part of urban planning literature on the issue of community-oriented business development and public space Morrison (2018) Develops with ideas of “Fourth Place” by combining co-living, co-working and co-mingling Soja (1996) representational strategies of real and imagined places. He proposes a ‘trialectics of spatiality’ which is a process using cultural hybridity to create ‘re-combinational and radically open’ spaces Third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place i.e. churches, cafes, clubs, public libraries, bookstores or parks Neutral ground : Occupants of third places have little to no obligation to be there. They are not tied down to the area financially, politically, legally, or otherwise and are free to come and go as they please. Leveler (a leveling place) : Third places put no importance on an individual's status in a society. Someone's economic or social status does not matter in a third place, allowing for a sense of commonality among its occupants. There are no prerequisites or requirements that would prevent acceptance or participation in the third place. Conversation : Playful and happy conversation is the main focus of activity in third places, although it is not required to be the only activity. The tone of conversation is usually light-hearted and humorous; wit and good-natured playfulness are highly valued. Accessibility and accommodation : Third places must be open and readily accessible to those who occupy them. They must also be accommodating, meaning they provide for the wants of their inhabitants, and all occupants feel their needs have been fulfilled. Regulars : Third places harbour a number of regulars that help give the space its tone, and help set the mood and characteristics of the area. Regulars to third places also attract newcomers, and are there to help someone new to the space feel welcome and accommodated. A low profile : Third places are characteristically wholesome. The inside of a third place is without extravagance or grandiosity, and has a homely feel. Third places are never snobby or pretentious, and are accepting of all types of individuals, from several different walks of life. Playful mood : The tone of conversation in third places is never marked with tension or hostility. Instead, third places have a playful nature, where witty conversation and frivolous banter are not only common, but highly valued. A home away from home : Occupants of third places will often have the same feelings of warmth, possession, and belonging as they would in their own homes. They feel a piece of themselves is rooted in the space, and gain spiritual regeneration by spending time there.

Lottie Matthews © 2020
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