People spend the majority of their time in two places, either at work or at home. Where they spend the rest of their time, though, is often where community and connections are developed. These community-building places are known as “Third Places,” a term coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg. Idea sharing, relationship building, and an overall good time all happen at these locations.
Enid has a variety of third places, such as; our coffee shops, breweries, golf courses, gyms, and many other locations. Each third-place area provides the opportunity to enhance the quality of life in a community. Quality of Life is the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group. Often, third place locations offer a stress relief that can refresh individual to be ready to take on the demands of work and home.
There is always a need for more third-place locations in Enid that provide a place for fellowship and ideas to be shared. High quality of life is still a determining factor in the recruitment and retention of companies and workforce to Enid. In 1987, for example, Oklahoma City realized the importance after being a finalist for a new United Airlines maintenance facility but ultimately did not get the bid after the company sent executives and their families to OKC for a weekend. The executives couldn’t imagine living in Oklahoma City even if it was a better location for the facility. Now, through the MAPS program and invested interest among community leaders, OKC has drastically improved.
So, how does Enid learn from Oklahoma City? First, residents must continue to go out and support our current third-place locations. When you visit these third-place locations, you are not only developing community with those you are with but also helping support local entrepreneurs who have devoted their business to be a place for gathering. Second, we need more entrepreneurs who have a desire to cultivate growth in our community. If you have ever had the dream to open a place for people to gather, there are resources available to make it a reality.
As Enid grows, we must continue fostering the development of third-place locations not only for the people who live here but also for recruiting new jobs to our community.