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THIRD PLACES. What are they?

Sociologist Ray Oldenburg (The Great Good Place) suggests that to lead a rewarding life, each of us needs three places - a home, a work or school place and a 'third place where people of all walks of life and all social levels congregate to converse and connect with others. America once had many variations of the home away from home which served as the focal point of social contact, whether it was the general store, corner diner or even barber shop. Examples of 'third places' woven into the work's social fabric abound and include such venues as the pubs of Great Britain, the sidewalk cafes of France and the Mexico's town squares or zocalos.

Imagine this 'third place' where you can experience a sense of community, an environment where you don't feel rushed or hovered over. a space to which people are drawn for interaction, to converse, to learn and share ideas. That's a third place.

As people seek out connections that affirm the spirit of their individual, home, and work lives, we rediscover how people have a fundamental yearning to be involved with or connected to their communities. Communities must strive to be inclusive, safe, and economically viable with a creative vitality and excitement that encourages engagement, stewardship, loyalty and sustainable growth.


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