The rise of ‘the third space’

Published 17th August 2012Shares

Everybody knows that Starbucks serve coffee, and that they have built a very lucrative global business doing so. What's less well known, is that a not insignificant proportion of that success is also down to their significant contribution to the creation of what we now term 'the third space'. Spaces one and two being home and work respectively. Nothing in life seems black and white anymore. A huge number of us don't work full time, or not from an office, or for ourselves. This changing pattern of life has redefined the historically clear delineation between the spaces we occupy. These changes also created an environment highly receptive to the creation of a third space. Somewhere that slots between work and home, a place with no particular function but available to serve every possibility. This is where Starbucks and the plethora of other coffee bars that now litter every UK high street have been the winners. Often these days, people will go for a coffee not because they specifically want the drink, but because it represents a hot liquid ticket to a place to hang out, a place to meet, a place to work.

There is value is applying this understanding when creating places to live. Over the past ten years, Totality has worked alongside some of the most respected and imaginative real estate developers, to help them create places to live that offer their residents much more than a smart lobby and a stylish apartment. This is a trend that has been driven both by the developers and the buyers. On the developer side, there has been a growing recognition that to differentiate their product in the market they need to create places to live that offer a fully integrated lifestyle, perfectly tailored to the needs of the target buyer. Buyers in return have been the beneficiaries of this competition, enjoying ever better facilities, but have also through their buying habits driven developers to continually raise their game.

In the past decade, We have played our part in driving this trend. Advising our clients on how best to maximise the GDV of their schemes, through the inclusion of a well thought through suite of added value 'third space' facilities and amenities. With individual choices driven by an understanding of the target buyers, and what they will value most. A process that has resulted in finished schemes that now include; rooftop running tracks, private cinemas, rooftop cocktail bars, virtual golf courses, billiard rooms, and private wine cellars.

But underlying and feeding this trend are seismic movements in the fabric of our society. More of us than ever before live on our own, we're getting married later and starting families well into our forties. This means that we're feeling younger, and acting younger for far more of our lives than has ever been the case in the past. And in doing so we have time on our hands. Time to exercise and time to socialise.

In this context, 'third spaces' will continue to be one of the key social drivers and facilitators of 21st century life. And a powerful commercial tool, in the hands of businesses that understand how to harness them to enhance the distinction and unique appeal of their own product or service.