Third Places In Rural Areas

Third Places 07 Jul 2021

The idea of a Third Place, sociable places for communities to gather, was described more than 30 years ago by American sociologist Ray Oldenburg. But where will you find those Third Places? The answer is, quite simply, everywhere. Our research in rural areas is ample evidence of this.

Viennese coffee houses. The MacLaren’s Pub of the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”. Your local library. What do these places have in common? Right, they are all Third Places: informal places that give communities and groups space to gather, engage and connect. 

But the idea of a Third Place is not a new concept. Back in 1989, the US American sociologist Ray Oldenburg pointed the way towards their importance for local communities in his ground-breaking book “The Great Good Place”. Next to home (the first place) and work or school (the second place), people need sociable spaces to interact with others and society: Third Places. 

Third places are not only hip and happening culture hubs in big cities. You find them everywhere: From urban to rural areas, Third Places cater for a sense of community, togetherness and responsibility. Perhaps even in less central places, where social gathering places like small grocery stores or the local bakery have been replaced by the infrastructure of commercial giants, the Third Place is one of the few remaining safe havens for the community. 

On behalf of our partner Büchereizentrale Schleswig-Holstein, we set out for an insightful research about Third Places in rural areas throughout Europe. Watch the results in the following video.

A very special word of thanks goes to our conversation partners and friends at La Fabrique de Revermont, For All Healthy Living Centre, The Community Shop Grindleford, Café Edelstein and Familienzentrum Radebeul.
Photo credit: Dogancan Ozturan