Chapter 1 Rethinking third places and community building
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Urbanisation is changing the nature of social interactions between people and their relationship to the places they inhabit. The building of community, as an urban planning goal and a social construct, and its oft-cited demise is re-visited in this chapter and linked to Ray Oldenburg’s concept of third place, to view contemporary issues of alienation, safety, mobility and sense of place. Third place is not home (first place), not work (second place), but those places in which we interact with the people that we meet when walking down the street, catching the bus, picking up groceries at the corner store, taking children to school, walking the dog, in our local coffee shop or chatting on social media. Third places foster casual conversations between people who live/work/play in, or visit, a local neighbourhood area. Third places are designed to be effective at bringing people together, and as such, they are an essential component of urban life because they promote social health and wellbeing; they promote relations of community.