The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenburg (1989)


“In the absence of informal public life, living becomes more expensive.  Where the means and facilities for relaxation and leisure are not publicly shared, they become the objects of private ownership and consumption.”  p. 11


The Third Place

“The third place is a generic designation for a great variety of public places that host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.”  P. 16


  1. Basic requirements for public places
    1. The full spectrum of local humanity is represented (p. 14)
    2. Human scale has been preserved (p. 14)
    3. There is a balance in the three realms of daily life—domestic, productive, and sociable (p. 15)
    4. Where third places remain vital, it is far more because they are prolific than prominent (p. 17)
  2. The Character of Third Places (pp. 20-42)
    1. Neutral ground
    2. Leveling (status, personal problems & moodiness)
    3. Conversation is the main activity

                                                               i.      Art of conversation (p. 28)

                                                             ii.      Emphasize style over vocabulary (p. 28)

                                                            iii.      Anything that interrupts flow of conversation is deadly (p. 30)

    1. Accessibility and Accommodation (time and location)
    2. The Regulars
    3. Low Profile
    4. Playful Mood
    5. Home Away from Home
  1. Personal Benefits of Third Places (pp. 41-65)
    1. Novelty
    2. Perspective
    3. Spiritual tonic
    4. Friends by the set
  2. The Greater Good (pp. 66-85)
    1. Grassroots politics
    2. Habit of association
    3. Agency of Control & a force for good
    4. Fun with the lid kept on
    5. Outposts of the public domain
  3. Types of Third Places
    1. German-American Beer Gardens
    2. Main Street
    3. English Pub
    4. French Café
    5. American tavern
    6. Classic Coffeehouses