Third place

Third place

The third place is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace. 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.

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. All societies already have informal meeting places; what is new in modern times is the intentionality of seeking them out as vital to current societal needs. Oldenburg suggests these hallmarks of a true "third place": free or inexpensive; food and drink, while not essential, are important; highly accessible: proximate for many (walking distance); involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there; welcoming and comfortable; both new friends and old should be found there.

Michael Krassa argues along similar lines, looking at neighborhood design, social network formation, and civic involvement.

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



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.

Variant forms of the concept include the "community coffee house" and the "community living room", a term which has been adopted by several organizations[1][2] to describe the model of a cooperatively-run "third space" which includes commercial or non-commercial functions with an emphasis on providing a free space for social interaction.

The general store or pub and occasionally bookstore or diner are traditional variants of the concept, provided in such cases there is an emphasis on expectation of socialization, and customers are invited to stay and "hang out" with or without making any (or additional) purchases. Institutions which traditionally provided some functions of a third place included shared leisure facilities such as a bowling alley or arcade, function halls, lodges or social clubs, when and if facilities were available for casual use.


An increasing percentage of American workers now telecommute, not from home, but from a third place.[3] Workers cite isolation when telecommuting from home and find working in public spaces a happy medium between the home office and the corporate office. Availability of public wifi has been a major enabler of this trend, and an increasing number of retail chains are catering to it.


A traditional public house encourages social contact between patrons. But a third place which provides internet access may create a hollow effect in that the patrons are physically present but do not make social contact with each other, being absorbed by their remote connections. Some café owners are trying to ameliorate this effect by staging performance art such as live jazz and turning off the wi-fi to encourage audience engagement.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Sue Halpern. "New Deal City". Mother Jones (May 2002). Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  2. ^ "Talk of Takoma". Takoma Voice (Takoma Park, Maryland, May 2005). Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  3. ^ "Third place office space". USA Today. 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  4. ^ The new oases, The Economist, April 10th 2008, 

Further reading

  • Oldenburg, Ray (1989). The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts, and How They Get You Through the Day. New York: Paragon House. ISBN 978-1557781109.  (Hardback)
  • Oldenburg, Ray (1991). The Great Good Place. New York: Marlowe & Company. ISBN 978-1569246818.  (Paperback)
  • Oldenburg, Ray (2000). Celebrating the Third Place: Inspiring Stories about the "Great Good Places" at the Heart of Our Communities. New York: Marlowe & Company. ISBN 978-1569246122. 

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См. также в других словарях:

  • third place — (THURD plays; TH as in thin) n. A place other than home or work where a person can go to relax and feel part of the community. third place adj. Example Citation: There s no place like third place. I m not talking about winning and losing here, or …   New words

  • third place — good but there are still 2 ahead, bronze metal …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Third place playoff — The third place playoff (sometimes called the bronze medal game or consolation game) is a single match that is included in many sporting knockout tournaments to decide which competitor or team will be credited with finishing third and fourth. The …   Wikipedia

  • third-place finish — noun a finish in third place (as in a race) • Hypernyms: ↑finish …   Useful english dictionary

  • The Third Place — is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace. In his influential book The Great Good Place , Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that… …   Wikipedia

  • Celebrating the Third Place — subtitled: Inspiring Stories About the The Great Good Places at the Heart of Our Communities , is a book by Ray Oldenburg. The book is a collage of 19 essays which tell stories of active third places in the heart of communities.Notes(New York: M …   Wikipedia

  • finish in third place — be the third person to complete a race or competition, reach the end of a race or competition in third place, come in third …   English contemporary dictionary

  • in the third place — See: IN THE PLACE …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • in the third place — See: IN THE PLACE …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • in\ the\ third\ place — See: in the place …   Словарь американских идиом

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