The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, by Ray Oldenburg

By Ray Oldenburg

The nice stable position argues that "third locations" - the place humans can assemble, set aside the worries of labor and residential, and hang around easily for the pleasures of fine corporation and vigorous dialog - are the guts of a community's social energy and the grassroots of democracy.

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Additional info for The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community

Sample text

We have nothing as respectable as the French rendez-vous to refer to a public meeting place or a setting in which friends get together away from the confines of home and work. The American language reflects the American reality—in vocabulary as in fact the core settings of an informal public life are underdeveloped. It is neutral, brief, and facile. It underscores the significance of the tripod and the relative importance of its three legs. Thus, the first place is the home—the most important place of all.

11 Mere escape can be found in many forms and does not begin to account for transformations such as these. Nothing more clearly indicates a third place than that the talk there is good; that it is lively, scintillating, colorful, and engaging. The joys of association in third places may initially be marked by smiles and twinkling eyes, by hand-shaking and backslapping, but they proceed and are maintained in pleasurable and entertaining conversation. A comparison of cultures readily reveals that the popularity of conversation in a society is closely related to the popularity of third places.

The joys of association in third places may initially be marked by smiles and twinkling eyes, by hand-shaking and backslapping, but they proceed and are maintained in pleasurable and entertaining conversation. A comparison of cultures readily reveals that the popularity of conversation in a society is closely related to the popularity of third places. 12 The rate of pub visitation in England or café visitation in France is high and corresponds to an obvious fondness for sociable conversation. ” American men of letters often reveal an envy of those societies in which conversation is more highly regarded than here, and usually recognize the link between activity and setting.

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