What we're about
NOTE: This Meetup will be locally hosted in the Annandale area and nearby 'burbs (e.g. Falls Church, Fairfax, Vienna, Tysons, Alexandria, Springfield, Burke, and Merrifield). On few occasions, venues may be chosen in Arlington, McLean, or Chantilly.
“What suburbia cries for are the means for people to gather easily, inexpensively, regularly, and pleasurably — a ‘place on the corner.'"
When I travel, I often will seek out local coffee hour groups. They exist in most cities and are attended by a wide age range, but they have in common a group of people happy to openly and freely converse in the casual sort of way that builds community. During my most recent travels, I thought, "Why doesn't my community have this?" I didn't have a good answer, and so, here we go!
I was talking with someone about the passing of "market squares" - public spaces where "regulars" can make community connections by striking up casual conversation about anything and everything. That's what I want this to be. A meetup that provides logistics for a local location for people to pop in, have a cuppa, and enjoy the simple pleasure of meeting other people. Maybe you'll make a few friends. Maybe you'll become a regular. Or, maybe you'll only come once. It doesn't matter so long as you have a nice time.
A few "housekeeping" notes:
• The group will not tolerate prejudice and hostility. Any behavior that can be construed as such is grounds for exclusion from future coffee hours.
• In order to maintain a sense of community, group sizes are limited for each event. Please always update your RSVP so that others can come if your plans change.
Thank you to member Stacie for sharing the following information about "third places!"
Third Places. Throughout his work, Oldenburg identifies “third places” as the public places on neutral ground where people can gather and interact. In contrast to first places (home) and second places (work), third places allow people to put aside their concerns and simply enjoy the company and conversation around them. Third places “host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.” Oldenburg explains that beer gardens, main streets, pubs, cafés, coffeehouses, post offices, and other third places are the heart of a community’s social vitality. Providing the foundation for a functioning democracy, these spaces promote social equity by leveling the status of guests, providing a setting for grassroots politics, creating habits of public association, and offering psychological support to individuals and communities.
QUOTES ABOUT THIRD PLACES
“In the absence of informal public life, living becomes more expensive. Where the means and facilities for relaxation and leisure are not publicly shared, they become the objects of private ownership and consumption.”
“Most needed are those ‘third places’ which lend a public balance to the increased privatization of home life. Third places are nothing more than informal public gathering places. The phrase ‘third places’ derives from considering our homes to be the ‘first’ places in our lives, and our work places the ‘second.'”
“The character of a third place is determined most of all by its regular clientele and is marked by a playful mood, which contrasts with people’s more serious involvement in other spheres. Though a radically different kind of setting for a home, the third place is remarkably similar to a good home in the psychological comfort and support that it extends…They are the heart of a community’s social vitality, the grassroots of democracy, but sadly, they constitute a diminishing aspect of the American social landscape.”
“Life without community has produced, for many, a life style consisting mainly of a home-to-work-and-back-again shuttle. Social well-being and psychological health depend upon community. It is no coincidence that the ‘helping professions’ became a major industry in the United States as suburban planning helped destroy local public life and the community support it once lent.”
“Totally unlike Main Street, the shopping mall is populated by strangers. As people circulate about in the constant, monotonous flow of mall pedestrian traffic, their eyes do not cast about for familiar faces, for the chance of seeing one is small. That is not part of what one expects there. The reason is simple. The mall is centrally located to serve the multitudes from a number of outlying developments within its region. There is little acquaintance between these developments and not much more within them. Most of them lack focal points or core settings and, as a result, people are not widely known to one another, even in their own neighborhoods, and their neighborhood is only a minority portion of the mall’s clientele.”