Webinar: The Fourth Place
Trends Briefing: 25th February 2021 | 9am-10am | Register here
Most of the last year, we’ve been stuck in one place – home.
While there, we’ve tried to recreate many of the activities and interactions that used to sustain us. Drinks, coffees and dinners online, a pub quiz or games night on Zoom, an exercise class in the living room, a tour of a museum or night at the opera without leaving the sofa.
These activities once took place in the real world, what those in leisure and hospitality might know as the Third Place: common spaces, from cafes to pubs to parks to community centres, that become the default setting of informal public life. In the last year, banned from those places, we’ve recreated them online.
But in doing so, we’ve changed them. A drink online with friends isn’t the same as a drink in the pub; not in terms of what we drink, how we talk or whether the night will be predictable or spontaneous. Joining an exercise class from home is not the same as going in person; this is reflected in cost, experience and even some of the social norms that go with it. These are such distinct activities they should be thought of differently. These are new types of leisure, not recreations of old ones.
This is the Fourth Place; a digital space that recreates real world leisure and in doing so, changes it.
Though driven by Covid, the Fourth Place will remain after the pandemic is over. These changes come with seismic implications for consumers, brands and daily life. How do our requirements for drinks and food at home change when our socialising takes place online? How does digital engagement with art and culture change the relationship between the venue and the visitor? Is the Fourth Place a threat to existing Third Places, already rocked by the pandemic?