Third Places

Ray Oldenburg introduced the concept of a “third place”. These are the places where you socialize outside of your home and work. They help establish a sense of community and grounds you to a city or neighborhood.

The characteristics that make a good 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

Thinking back to my school days, the computer and printing lab served as this third place for me. It was the place where you ran into other students spending time outside of class working on assignments. The place where you shared what you were working on, helped each other troubleshoot printing woes, chat about class, and worry about graduation.

What are your third places? Your go-to spots outside of your work and home? Is there a third place for designers?