Third Place

Term coined by Ray Oldenburg to refer to public spaces (not those necessarily owned by the government, but where the public can gather for interaction). (Third because it's not home or work.)

Does this help people build Social Capital?

A review of the sequel (to The Great Good Place ISBN:1569246815) Celebrating the Third Place (ISBN:1569246122) noted "Oldenburg's examples are suspiciously clustered near colleges" (College Town). If we assume that is true (that there are more of these places near colleges (College Education)), then why might that be?

  • more disposable time and income

  • already socially active, looking for a place to host that (since their dorm rooms suck)

  • lower standards for undamaged furniture, good lighting, cleanliness, etc. (lower operating costs)

  • on flexible schedules, so can generate business at any time of the day (spreading out activity, vs having to push turnover to serve big peak meal-time crowds)

  • cheap student labor available (reducing revenue requirements)

The Great Good Place is excellent. Most of the writing in Celebrating the Third Place is horrible - puff-pieces written by the people running these little places. The essay on (Minimum Security) Pri Son as a Third Place is fascinating, though.


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