The Third Place

A good article that focuses on sociologist Ray Oldenburg, and his observations of urban living. Yes, you may be surprised, hanging out is good for you, in fact, essential.

Street Life
A CENTRAL CONCEPT in the book is “the third place”, which sounds like the title of a collection of poetry, and we should not by any means underestimate the power of a name in contexts like these, as the name is appearing pretty much everywhere. However, the name has a very everyday explanation: if home is the first and work the second, then the informal meeting place in town is the third. A clarification is needed here, however. The third place has nothing to do with the anonymous life we can see in a shopping centre or at Sergels Torg Square in Stockholm, where people stream out from the tube station complex at T-Centralen, do some shopping or have a quick coffee with a friend and go home. Ideally, it is about a place within walking distance of home to which you go regularly to meet other local people. The British pub, the continental café or the Swedish konditori often act as third places, to the extent, that is, that they have a regular clientele. It is thus not the establishment itself that is the point but the fact that people regularly spend part of their lives on premises, at a public place and thereby maintain social relations other than those they have in the home, at their workplace or together with some carefully chosen friends. Apart from bars, the main streets of small towns, the rural general store, post office, hairdressers, library and the like have had these same functions, and have them still.

By way of The Anti-Mega Outboard Brain

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