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Disappearing Social Spaces and The Third Place

Before the core settings of an informal public life can be restored to the urban landscape and re-established in daily life, it will be necessary to articulate their nature and benefit. The core settings of the informal public life must be analyzed and discussed in terms comprehensible to these rational and individualistic outlooks dominant in thought. We must dissect, talk in terms of specific payoffs, and reduce special experience to common labels. We must urgently begin to defend these Great Good Places – as Professor Ray Oldenburg calls them – against the unbelieving and the antagonistic, and do so in terms which are clear to all.

Oldenburg introduced the term “the third place” to describe articulately “the core settings of informal public life”. The third place is a generic designation for a great variety of public places that host the regular, voluntary, informal and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work. Read more

'Old Space Taken' by Rattlecans

The rain has gone off with unusually perfect timing for my walk. I’ve hopped on a bus and then walked along the road to where I was born and grew up. The river is behind me as I face the little flats my family once called home. To my left is a huge concrete square. The paving stones are still higgledy piggledy. We usually ignored those bits of higgledy piggledy. It didn’t stop us playing, tig, kick-the-can-run-away, two-man hunt, football, whizzing around on our bikes, or trying unsuccessfully to play tennis.

Our lines were marked out with the green paint someone had found and marked out a tennis court with. You know that council building green paint, the same paint every building seemed to have on every wall inside? That paint. We used a bit of old orange nylon rope tied between two of the trees that were meant to make it look nice. Nice. I don’t remember those little trees looking nice; they were bare twigs.  Those improvised tennis court lines are long gone now. Read more