Downtown Living Rooms

Downtown Living Rooms

When it comes to the function of what is going to bring a city more wealth, a city must address this question with economic development attraction and retention fundamentals.  For most cities this is where their efforts stop and is also why those cities cannot understand why they can’t attract the best and brightest talent.  Warren Buffett, when talking about investing, said that growth and value are attached at the hip.  In the investing world to truly understand what makes a stock great to understand the relationship of a growth company at a value price.  Philippine-stock-market-board.jpgThis also relates to what makes cities great and why some are more successful at attracting talent. In the world of cities this relationship is all about Economic Development and Placemaking.  Great Places or what some people call third places are a critical tool in the next generation economic development toolbox.  Great Places and Third Places are the Form element of the equation of what makes cities work.  Richard Florida stresses the need to have great places and community living rooms because this is where ideas are exchanged, casual encounters happen and what gives a quality of life element to the creative class searching for a stimulating environment beyond work and home.  Ask yourself where our community living rooms are?  Are they organic places that have an eclectic offering of active and passive entertainment?  Are they diverse where you find all kinds of people, young and old, rich and poor?  Are these places where ideas are exchanged and new relationships form? When you travel to other places that you love…where are their living rooms located?  I would argue that Daytona Beach has great bones to have wonderful living rooms and third places, but fail to see the need to focus our attention to the Form side of the equation.

Below is the Wikipedia definition of Third Place

The third place is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace. In his influential bookThe Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.

Oldenburg calls one’s “first place” the home and those that one lives with. The “second place” is the workplace — where people may actually spend most of their time. Third places, then, are “anchors” of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction. All societies already have informal meeting places; what is new inmodern times is the intentionality of seeking them out as vital to current societal needs. Oldenburg suggests these hallmarks of a true “third place”: free or inexpensive; food and drink, while not essential, are important; highly accessible: proximate for many (walking distance); involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there; welcoming and comfortable; both new friends and old should be found there.


Michael Krassa argues along similar lines, looking at neighborhood design, social network formation, and civic involvement.

Robert Putnam addressed issues related to third place in Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital

Variant forms of the concept include the “community coffee house” and the “community living room”, a term which has been adopted by several organizations[1][2] to describe the model of a cooperatively-run “third space” which includes commercial or non-commercial functions with an emphasis on providing a free space for social interaction.The concept of a “Third Place” has become popularized and has been picked up by various small businesses, including as a name for various locally owned coffee shops, and is commonly cited in urban planning literature on the issue of community-oriented business development and public space.


The general store or pub and occasionally bookstore or diner are traditional variants of the concept, provided in such cases there is an emphasis on expectation of socialization, and customers are invited to stay and “hang out” with or without making any (or additional) purchases. Institutions which traditionally provided some functions of a third place included shared leisure facilities such as abowling alley or arcade, function halls, lodges or social clubs, when and if facilities were available for casual use

One comment

  1. So glad you are changing our Beach St.! 25 years ago thought we should have identical awnings there, like St. Armand Circle shops, & wrote the Downtown Development group the idea. Love reading your articles!

    Liked by 1 person

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