The Spring School workshop of the Réseau International Cité des Métiers

Third-type spaces to jointly create a more desirable future – June 2021

The team for our Places-3T project participated in Sping School 2021 (online) of the Réseau International Cité des Métiers on July 4, 2021, in a workshop dedicated to “third-type spaces”, like third places, spaces built outside the private sphere without being exclusively part of the professional one, hybrid places for exchanges between multiple actors and interests.

Three members of the project hosted the workshop, Pierre Pevée from Smart, Sanjin Plakalo from POUR LA SOLIDARITÉ (PLS) and Liliane Esnault from FREREF. They introduced the project and the LaVallée space, the third place hosted by SMART, and one of the activities of the 100% young system which takes place there, hosted by PLS.

Third-type spaces make it possible to develop new ways to learn, create, build values, taking into account the new success criteria: development of trust in oneself and others, in the future; respect for people and the planet; valuing skills acquired previously and those developed in cooperation and collaboration; valuing flip thinking, etc. These are spaces to express the will to make lasting changes in the relationship with the future, support more optimistic, inclusive and egalitarian societal visions.

Innovation lies in the way relationships between people are created and work, as well as the mix of their concerns: no separation between work, learning, creation, personal and collective, content and method, but rather a permanent complementarity.

  • To study, enhance and make sustainable these so-called “third type” collaborative spaces;
  • To identify the key factors for success;
  • To set models, approaches, and tools to support creators of third-type spaces and allow them to self-assess or peer-assess;
  • To make hybrid acquaintances and mix cultures from different spaces that meet along the project;
  • To appreciate, recognise and value the complex competences.

To properly carry out the project, the team already has on hand some third places hosted by the project partners, such as the LaVallée space, hosted by SMART, which includes residences for artists, and hosts artistic and cultural events like concerts and festivals. The place also has a coworking room, workshops, and accommodation for artisans and artists who make the local economy flow. The dynamics of the place create a network of support and acquaintances between the different actors from of third place, and between the different professions that meet there. LaVallée acts as a place that facilitates activity, which offers stability to independent entrepreneurs and artisans who just started their business.

LaVallée hosts social activities as well, such as the 100% young program dedicated to young “NEETS”, not in education, employment, or training, for whom access to employment is particularly difficult. This six-month individual and collective support system is free and open to all NEETS from Brussels aged between 18 and 28. Coordinated by Pour La Solidarité, independent think and do tanks from Brussels have committed to a lasting and solidary Europe. Its development is followed by a team of multidisciplinary actors who put their collective intelligence at the service of each youngster.

A quick brainstorming then allowed participants to help describe what the ideal third-type space would be for them. The next drawing shows the ideal third place according to the participants:

A town and its Places3T