The Importance Of The Third Place In Urban Life

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Ray Oldenburg defined it as an “informal public gathering place”, a place completely independent from the home and the workplace, respectively known as the first and second places (16). The concept of the third place was coined in 1989, notably before the advent of today’s prevailing social haven: the internet. Oldenburg specifically characterized this third place as social setting free of obligation, extravagance, and socioeconomic status (22-23, 36). The place must be accessible, playful, welcoming, and conversation must be the prevailing activity (26, 32, 37-39). The third place has an emphasized importance in urban life, but the social structure of urban life has evolved significantly since the conception of this concept, namely due to…show more content…
In this setting, gross neglect of the third place negatively impacts the emotional and mental health of students, proving the importance and versatility of Oldenburg’s concept. This thesis is primarily driven by months of firsthand observation of the collegiate social environment. Although it is only a small piece of the city, the urban university is a microcosm of the city itself. Daily commuters are replaced by students, and the central currency-based economy is replaced by an education-based economy, and the pursuit thereof. Many aspects of city life are even preserved at these campuses, including socioeconomic diversity, the flow of money, the means of transportation, and much of the local culture of the city. The city and the urban university share a symbiotic relationship, in that they feel the effects of each other. If the city experienced serious financial troubles, then the college would suffer some consequences of this. Conversely, if the college somehow…show more content…
Oldenburg outlined the shortage and neglect of the third place, and the flaws in American culture that cause this, as well as problems that result from this. These exact behaviors are continually manifested in the observed setting, despite the presence of parties and social media, the latter of which was not able to be considered in Oldenburg’s propositions. As previously stated, these things are fruitless alternatives, and only serve to increase the neglect and deficit of third places. This verifies the versatility of Oldenburg’s theory, and proves that the concept of the third space will always continue to be relevant in urban culture, for conceivably the rest of human

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