Third Places

Maximize contact between communities of interest by designing third places.


Third places are informal places in which people gather between home and work. According to Ray Oldenburg, third places “must be neutral ground upon which people may gather … where individuals may come and go as they please, in which no one is required to play host, and in which we all feel at home and comfortable.” Third places become established by people informally designating them as places to go to see and be seen. Examples include coffee shops, neighborhood bars, hair salons, and playgrounds, among many other possibilities. Third places have a social leveling effect that allows people to communicate freely in ways they simply aren’t able to at home or in the office. This Pattern includes:

  •      Walk-To Preferred, Valuable Regardless
  •      Communities of Interest
  •      Design Ideas


Aly Andrews (inspired by Ray Oldenberg)

Farr Associates


Participatory Art

Local Burning Man

Entrepreneurial Retail