Nationwide, more and more entrepreneurs are committing themselves to creating and running "third places," also known as "great good places." In his landmark work, The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg identified, portrayed, and promoted those third places. Now, more than ten years after the original publication of that book, the time has come to celebrate the many third places that dot the American landscape and foster civic life. With 20 black-and-white photographs, Celebrating the Third Place brings together fifteen firsthand accounts by proprietors of third places, as well as appreciations by fans who have made spending time at these hangouts a regular part of their lives. Among the establishments profiled are a shopping center in Seattle, a three-hundred-year-old tavern in Washington, D.C., a garden shop in Amherst, Massachusetts, a coffeehouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, a bookstore in Traverse City, Michigan, and a restaurant in San Francisco.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I got this book and The Great Good Place at the same time, and I opted to read this one first for its narrative structure. I think I learned a lot more about third places by seeing so many examples than I would have from reading a strictly informative text. Still, I wish there was a bit more exposition throughout this book explaining the specific third place principles in action. I will now read The Great Good Place, hoping that I remember these coffeeshops and bars and bookstores as I read of Great Good Place tenets.
Ray Oldenburg re-discovered the importance of the Third Place, a location where people mingle that is not their home (First Place) nor their work (Second Place). "Cafés, coffee shops, community centers, beauty parlors, general stores, bars, hangouts" are enormously important for democratic interactions and social contacts but are under attack by streamlined, efficiency-driven corporations. A successful Third Place encourages patrons to linger, a successful franchise wants patrons to consume and depart as quickly as possible. Many Third Places thus are under attack and often only held together by a selfless owner. A collection of case studies of actual working Third Places would be helpful indeed.Alas, the editor has been too lenient in his selection, Many of the commercial establishments in this reader do not fit the definition of a Third Place. A Third Place is more than a place one likes to be or a store with a friendly owner. Thus, the reader includes too many self-promoting businesses that fit the definition of a Third Place only at the margin. The best entry is actually about Chicago prisons as sort of Third Places. The unfortunate American jail policies lets prisons become the place where young men (cut off from home and work) exchange ideas and mingle - certainly not the Third Place Oldenburg had in mind.