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Accepted Paper:

Loneliness and missing third places. A mixed methods approach to understand how the neighbourhood can help to alleviate loneliness and social isolation.  
Nina Goldman (University of Basel)

Paper short abstract:

The overarching aim is to advance the development of a spatial and social perspective on loneliness and social isolation by developing a better understanding of how neighbourhood features can contribute to reducing the prevalence of loneliness and social isolation in the community setting.

Paper long abstract:

There is an increasing body of research on loneliness and social isolation (L&SI), especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously it has been shown that loneliness is real and a universal experience that varies across demographic characteristics, countries and the life-span. However, the discourse on L&SI is largely one-sided and frames L&SI as a psychological, individual and medical problem. I propose a complementary geographic and social perspective to the prevailing psychological and health approach, as certain social phenomena cannot be understood exclusively on the individual level. Thereby the spatial sociological concept of the third place which refers to informal public gathering places (Oldenburg 1996) will help to conceptualise existing neighbourhood inventories such as parks, caf├ęs, libraries. These third places promote social justice by equalising the status of guests, creating habits of public of public togetherness, and thus can provide psychological support for individuals and communities (Oldenburg 1989). They also help individuals build social relationships and enable interactions with weak social ties, which improves well-being. Additionally, we also know that people of similar socio-economic status tend to cluster in similar areas, which can be quite pronounced. This illustrates the need to further the development of a spatial and social view on L&SI, as these approaches are highly understudied.

Panel P044
Entangled Commons. Shifting Infrastructures of Sociality toward Visionary Pragmatic Lifeworlds [UrbAn]
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -