Revisiting ‘Third Places’ as a Pandemic Recovery Tool

In Chuck Wolfe's latest piece on downtown recovery for GeekWire, he proposes revisiting a multifaceted ‘third place’ agenda as a focus for downtown recovery.

1 minute read

June 22, 2023, 12:00 PM PDT

By Charles R. Wolfe @crwolfelaw


Black and white photo of Pike Place Market entrance in Seattle with "PUBLIC MARKET" and "Meet the producer" signs

Seattle's Vaunted ‘Third Place.’ Photo by Chuck Wolfe | Charles R. Wolf / Pike Place Market, Seattle

Wolfe recalls the long tradition of the third place concept, re-upping its relevance post-pandemic to define a recovery agenda:

According to urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg, third places and their criteria are essential for creating a sense of belonging, identity, civic engagement, and diversity in a city. More recently, they are identified with environmental sustainability if they are accessible by foot, bike, or public transit. Post-pandemic they can help transcend times of isolation with renewed social encounters; after lockdowns and social distancing, we need them even more.

He offers several international examples, from recalibration of downtown malls to community social enterprises, as well as interior green spaces, specific artisanal hubs, tech incubator centers, and even temporary housing. 

“The focus is as much thematic as applied,” he notes. The article explains how a third place agenda and re-upping of Oldenburg’s principles provide an agenda for the task ahead, for which there should be no shortage of ideas.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023 in GeekWire

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