I am reading The Great Good Place, by Ray Oldenburg, about the concept of the “third place.” I’m fascinated by his contention that third places play an important role in facilitating civic life. This idea crosses paths with my interests on Carbon Trace because proper third places are largely located in areas where people can get to them easily, i.e. by means other than cars. Third places are a largely urban phenomenon.
I wrote about third places not long ago, but my understanding of them was flawed (having just purchased the book). I was operating under the assumption that a third place is something I choose. But Oldenburg demonstrates that third places are actually places that choose us by offering very particular kinds of atmosphere and accommodation that are conducive to (and, indeed, encourages) open conversation. A third place cannot be easily created by force of will.
So I’m thinking it would be cool to go on a search for third places in Springfield and write about them here as part of my interest in getting about town on two wheels and two feet. Finding third places also fits the work I’ve been doing in the urban challenge series.
I’ll begin with the one place that I know is a real third place: the Mudhouse.
I’ll then ride out from there.
Something else I’ve been doing lately (somewhat related): geo-tagging my pictures of bicycle parking around town and linking them to Google Earth. More on that later…