01 Feb How to Use Public Space to Brand Your Community
Ray Oldenburg’s thought-provoking book, The Great Good Place (1991), introduced the notion of the Third Place. If home is the First Place and work is the Second, the Third Place is a space outside of home or work where people congregate and interact socially.
True Third Places are neutral ground and accessible to all. They tend to attract “regulars,” but also welcome newcomers. They are comfortable, relaxed and enjoyable.
In the past, cafes (Starbucks is often cited as a Third Place), shopping malls and parks served the Third Place role. In today’s community design, we are seeing some interesting new Third Places that are more activity oriented. Examples are:
- Dog Parks or Dog Washing Stations – These are natural gathering places for people with dogs—or people who just like dogs. We know many parks where regulars bring food and wine and turn a visit into a party.
- Community Gardens – The local food movement is a great anchor for a community. Participants spend time together planting and maintaining the garden, and often celebrate with a community meal at harvest time.
- Food Truck Courts – Food has always been a great a community builder, and the food truck phenomenon brings with it a festive, fun atmosphere.
Tell us about Third Places you’ve experienced!
Take a look at our past work building thriving communities here.