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orange toast: perspectives

Third Space Is Your Space

When you’re seeking that comfort zone between work and home, there is a “third place” for you. This popular concept has flourished recently, even though it’s not a new idea. Think of your local coffee shop, or green space. Community-oriented business development and public space are receiving renewed interest in urban planning literature and professional practice. It’s something community developers have always known: sharing public gathering spaces is an important part of our successful and fulfilled community experience.


Neal’s Yard, Pocket Park, London

Planner Ray Oldenburg identifies “third places” as the public places on neutral ground where people can meet and interact. Unlike first places (home) and second places (work), third places allow people to enjoy the company and conversation around them. Third places “host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.”

The benefits of Third Space community fellowship outside home and office are recognized by top companies. Particularly among the creative industries, the opportunity to share ideas and inspiration outside the traditional office setting, has become the norm.

Google has been on the forefront of this Third Space, not workplace, concept. The company has no schedules, no offices, and has fitness clubs and cafes on corporate campus, which provide ample opportunity to work in an inspiring, interactive environment. This open policy helps contribute to company culture: Google has roughly 3,000 job openings each year. They have almost a million applicants for these positions. Third Space appreciation to attract the company’s best and brightest.


For the rest of us, Main Streets, cafes, post offices and parks are the epicenter of a thriving society. These places bring us together to share ideas, rub shoulders, and cross paths with fellow citizens. The current hostile sociopolitical climate in America means that sharing and gathering in public spaces is more important than ever in fostering a healthy community. It’s the best chance we have to enjoy the functioning democracy we practice in our everyday lives.

20 Nov ’16 by kate knight

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