First, Second and Third  Should Third be first?

The First Place, our homes, and as Australian's we put a lot of emphasis on identity, status and culture surrounding these places. Homes are now being designed to be smart, adaptable and green as our cities grow and evolve. Homes are getting bigger, but also smaller as we struggle to find space in our ever-growing cities.

The Second Place, where we work is being re-considered, re-invented and re-shaped to encourage creativity, innovation, and collaboration.  You just have to search Google, Pixar, Mindlab and Red Bull London to view cutting edge work places.  Stop the press! Perhaps we don't even need to travel to a dedicated workplace with technology and virtual applications getting better everyday.

The Third Space is therefore all other places other than work or home. Shopping centres tried to claim they were the third space for a while there, but in recent years we have focussed on streets and formal gathering places and how cafes and semi public/private spaces are critical for socialisation and building community. However in all this debate we often forget that as our cities evolve and grow, our green places, are as valuable as any other part of our urban environment. 

With health, the environment, lifestyle and social goals ever present in our minds, our active and passive green spaces are critical elements in creating great places. These places can accommodate community and civic facilities, sporting clubs, event opportunities, play spaces and environmental assets. If designed well they are multi-purpose, safe and inviting of all ages.  Furthermore, they represent a significant opportunity for community to be heavily involved in how they are used and designed.

This is never more apparent with the current density debate in Perth!  More often than not it's acknowledged that we cannot continue to gobble up bush or farmland and extend the metro footprint to an unstainable level. So if we continue to increase populations surely we need to ensure our Third Spaces - our green places, are enhanced and protected.  As density lands in our urban areas we need to plan for how we can provide critical green places for the benefit of existing and future communities soon to arrive!

Cath Blake-PowellDirector + Principal TPG Conversations

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