Third places are physical spaces that are emerging in France and playing an essential role in the development of new ways of working and innovating. These places, outside the home and workplace, are designed to foster creativity, collaboration and networking within a local community. Third places differ from traditional offices in their openness to a wide range of players and their ability to offer different services.
Third places are springing up all over France, offering a new way of working. Each one is often the fruit of a project led by a player in the social economy, an association, one or more public services or local authorities. These spaces can take the form of a coworking space, a fab lab or a public service center. 62% of them are located outside metropolitan areas, anchored in their local area and designed to meet local needs in terms of work, innovation and social ties.
Third places are innovative projects. They encourage the emergence of collaborative projects, the testing of new ideas and the creation of synergies between individuals with diverse skills. They also encourage the adoption of digital tools and the development of the social economy.
A "tiers lieu" makes an active contribution to the social and economic fabric of the area in which it is located. It is often associated with consulting, support and resource-sharing services. Some third places, such as collaborative libraries and coworking spaces, are open to the public and offer services accessible to all.
The tiers lieux movement is supported by the French government, which recognizes their role in energizing regions and encouraging innovation. Initiatives such as Movilab have been launched to promote the development of third places on a national scale.
A page on the France Tiers Lieux website puts the number of tiers lieux in 2023 at 3,500, almost double the number in 2018. And by 2025, the plan is to have a total of 5,000 spaces across the country.
Third places represent a major challenge for the future of work and innovation in France. They foster social ties, the sharing of resources, the development of professional networks and the creation of new forms of economic activity, making them true places to live. Their emergence reflects the transition to a more collaborative and social economy.
Third places are much more than just shared workspaces. They embody a vision of the economy and society based on collaboration, innovation and solidarity. Their role in creating value for local communities is indisputable, making them key players in the future of work in France.