Rethinking Third Places
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Rethinking Third Places

Informal Public Spaces and Community Building

Edited by Joanne Dolley and Caryl Bosman

Ray Oldenburg’s concept of third place is re-visited in this book through contemporary approaches and new examples of third places. Third place is not your home (first place), not your work (second place), but those informal public places in which we interact with the people. Readers will come to understand the importance of third places and how they can be incorporated into urban design to offer places of interaction – promoting togetherness in an urbanised world of mobility and rapid change.
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Chapter 3: Planning for healthy ageing: how the use of third places contributes to the social health of older populations

Sara Alidoust and Caryl Bosman


In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on creating age-friendly cities to accommodate the changing needs of older people and to promote their overall health and well-being. This chapter focuses on some of the urban planning implications related to maintaining the social health, as a main component of overall health and well-being, of older people. Specifically, we look at the role and accessibility of third places (popular public places where many people go to socialise) in relation to older people living in different neighbourhood built-form patterns, and how these factors impact on the formation of absent, weak and strong social ties. The data draws upon interviews with 54 older people living in different neighbourhood built-form patterns on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Our findings demonstrate the significant role third places have in affording older people opportunities to engage in the social lives of their local communities, thus contributing to their social health and overall well-being. This research supports previous studies relating to the accessibility of amenities by reemphasising the importance of planning for the provision of third places that are conveniently located and easily accessible by older people. The chapter concludes by arguing for the planning of transport and third place interventions in Australia’s sprawling suburban landscapes to allow older people more opportunities to be socially connected.

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