Third spaces refer to those places outside of the home (first space) and work (second space), where people gather to commune and socialize. Such spaces can include clubs, cafes, parks, community centers, and gaming lounges, or can be a part of an existing space such as a dentist’s office, church and so forth. An ideal third space is conversation focused, accessible, and accommodating. Below we discuss two of these main characteristics of third spaces, and why they are absolutely important.
Making Conversation the Main Activity
Creating a successful third space or designing a third space requires fostering an atmosphere of communication. Third spaces, by nature, are designed to be a place where people can embrace broader perspectives and have more creative interactions. In other words, people are able to connect in newer, more dynamic ways with new and old acquaintances, family and friends.
For communication to be a central activity within a third space, there are certain features that are encouraged within the space including:
- Food and beverages
- Social activities that are light-hearted, playful, and fun
Social activities allow those within the space to relax and feel more comfortable while having the right background music, played at a reasonable volume, can help set the atmosphere and tone for great interaction.
Accessibility and Accommodation in Third Spaces
Of course, third spaces must be easy-to-get-to and accommodating in order to be beneficial. Ideally, they are accessible by foot or a quick bus or car ride. In addition to proximity, there are other characteristics or features which lend themselves to the accessibility and accommodation factors of third spaces. Third spaces should be made available at little to no cost to those who wish to enjoy them. Additionally, visiting the space and participating in of the offered activities should be non-obligatory. In other words, those who visit third spaces should feel free to choose how they spend their time there.
Creating Ideal Third Spaces
A third space should, in essence, feel like a home away from home. There are a number of things that can be done to help ensure this. These things, of course, depend on who is being catered to by the space. Everything from color choices to size, layout, design, furniture, and fixtures can help create the best possible atmosphere.
These are among the many factors we take into consideration when creating the ideal third spaces for churches, Sunday school or children’s church rooms, dentist offices and other special interest groups.