What the decline of American shopping malls means for social space

People spend the majority of their lives in one of three places. The first is the home, the second is the workplace, and the third is any other social space.

Those “third places” are critical for relationships. Ray Oldenburg introduced the concept in his 1989 book The Great Good Place.

In their best iterations, third places are the building blocks of community — think public libraries, local cafes, or the neighborhood barbershop. But when Americans started building and moving into...

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