“theleisureway seeks to enhance links between people and their shopping centers and between generations. To do that, we build a fluent, informed, and creative exchange of ideas with our partners.”

I’m with my theleisureway colleagues, Pablo and Carlos, in a place in the old center of Zaragoza. It’s a tapas bar, I confess, but I might justify it by saying that it would tick a lot of boxes as one of Ray Oldenburg’s “Great Good Places.” It leads me to think about his book Celebrating the Third Place. Third places are cafés, bakeries, or any hangout that is not your home or the office. I can’t resist the Cheers reference: “Where everybody knows your name.” Oldenburg talks about an “informal public life” and the “character of a third place is determined most of all by its regular clientele…” This tapas bar certainly fits that description.

Within my working week, like many of you, I face a lot of scheduled activity and a great deal of my communication and interaction is pragmatic and goal-driven. Nevertheless, I do something that isn’t very pragmatic, too: I take the route I enjoy on my way to work. It’s not the quickest, but it’s the one I like! It suits me. It is an amazing coincidence that my route through this Spanish city built on Roman ruins with Mudejar towers and neo-classical facades invites me to hang around. How did those builders know? How did thousands of years of culture come together to make one busy man happy in this third place? We strive in every project to apply this leisure feeling…

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