Can shopping environments be third places?

That’s the question answered by the Urban Land Institute, and the answer is that at least for the newly built town-center-style shopping centers, they’re trying.

All five examples provided in the report are unaffordable for most as far as residences and offices are concerned, and largely consisting of chains, but what’s noteworthy is that the developers are providing public spaces for everyone that have the potential for being third places.

In addition to thousands of square feet of window shopping and dining options…

South Campus Gateway on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus – profiled South Campus Gateway“>previously, features a central paseo (pedestrian-only street) restaurants patios, entertainment clubs, and a cinema entrance popular with students for hanging out.

First & Main, Hudson, OH – profiled in the previous entry, is adjacent to a 200-year-old village green with a new library.

North Hills, Raleigh, North Carolina – designed around a village green and open space hosting community events like town hall gatherings, musicals, theater productions and symphony performances.

Legacy Village, Lyndhurst, Ohio – centered around a town square with an intimate trellis-covered stage suited for outdoor events (concerts, plays).

Bloomfield Park, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan – provides eight parks linked by walking paths, two lakes integrated with wildlife habitat, an ice skating rink and town square.

What public events and amenities would you prefer? Comment below!