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 9: Third places in the ether around us: layers on the real world

Dmitri Williams and Do Own Kim


Oldenburg, in his later writings, argued that the Internet was not and could not be a third place. This chapter takes a fresh look at the role of media and technology, suggesting that Oldenburg’s criteria can be viewed through a lens of computer-mediated communication theories, with technologies layering on top of everyday life. Depending on the technology, this layering can be more literal or figurative. As we become more intertwined with technology, some devices and systems are seen as more beneficial to supporting social capital via third-place functions and forms, while others are not.

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