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 8: Third places and social capital: case study community gardens

Joanne Dolley


This chapter explores the literature on community gardens and the author’s recent research which investigated community gardens against third place characteristics in a range of locations in Australia and Denmark. All of the case study community gardens exhibited most or all of the eight third place characteristics and some were particularly effective third places. The theoretical framework used is social capital and more specifically, Gravonetter’s ‘weak ties’. The chapter illustrates community gardens as third places with examples from community garden literature and three of the case study community gardens investigated by the author. The findings provide insights for better design of third places and the design of community gardens, where building social capital and sense of community is a goal.

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