April 16, 2015
In his book The Great Good Place, urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg highlights how informal public gathering places are essential to community and public life. He argues that bars, coffee shops and other “third places,” are central to local community vitality. With that concept in mind, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced that it will grant $650,000 to The University of Miami School of Architecture‘s project to bring entrepreneurial spaces to two underserved neighborhoods in Miami.
According to Charles Bohl, associate professor and director of the graduate program in Real Estate Development + Urbanism at the University of Miami School of Architecture and one of the project leaders, the Third Place Project will not only provide spaces to create collisions between people “from different economic backgrounds and neighborhoods” but it will also “tap into the strong desire that the ‘creative class‘ and millennials have for informal gathering places.”
Bohl recently visited Barcelona, Spain, a city that provides 40 public markets third places with inexpensive space for startup in neighborhoods throughout the city. The specific locations will be decided soon, but the idea is perfect for a traditionally decentralized city like Miami, where the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs are high.
“The Third Place Project will grow and foster the unique character and qualities of these neighborhoods, bringing the ideas of entrepreneurs, artists and others into the forefront,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami to The Miami Herald.
The Third Place Project will include the School of Architecture’s expertise in architecture for the design and layout of incubator space and public markets, as well as the School of Business Administration’s expertise in business startup training and entrepreneurship. The Third Place Project is evaluating project sites and will begin work during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Disclosure: Tech.Co is funded by The Knight Foundation
Image Credit: William Murphy on Flickr
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