Places of the Heart

Everyone has a story about third places—those gathering places that are not home or work—in the communities they have lived and worked. I wrote about some of mine in my editor’s note for our package on the topic. We also invited some of the young community developers who wrote for our 6 Under 36 anniversary package to tell us a little about some of the ones that stand out for them.

I love the variety in what they wrote about: formal and informal spaces, places intended for the purpose and others merely claimed for such, transitory events and features of the landscape, past and present:

    • Shola Olatoye of Enterprise wrote about a block of brownstones in a working class Connecticut neighborhood.
    • Brent Elrod of Nashville wrote about gathering in parking lots as a teen and all the better opportunities flourishing now.
    • Jessica Venegas wrote about the institutions—parks, libraries, Boys and Girls Clubs—that provided her safe haven and community growing up in LA.
    • Stephanie Allewalt wrote about two very different places—a tree house, and a teen center—that were formative to her.


Take a look and then tell us your stories in the comments! We may choose to feature some of them on Rooflines.

Miriam Axel-Lute is CEO/editor-in-chief of Shelterforce. She lives in Albany, New York, and is a proud small-city aficionado.


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