For most, a favorite bar, coffee shop, library, record store, barber shop or market means more than a transaction. These “third places” (home being first and work second) oftentimes provide conversation, connection and community. However, many—if not most—of these places were forced to close or operate at reduced capacity last year and, until PPP Loans arrived, with limited financial support from the government. Some cities offered aid through tax rebates. Others sought ways to direct foot traffic from malls and bigger chains to downtown corridors where small, independent businesses struggled to stay afloat. But the absence of these “third places” also impacted individuals’ wellbeing. “We form very physical attachments, both to people but also to places, and without that I think our lives will not be as rich. What’s lost is the sensory sense of being with other people. I don’t think we know yet what the consequences of that will be,” Setha Low, environmental psychology professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, tells CityLab. Read more there.
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