Our David Polzin contributes to a new piece from Curbed that argues, Yes, “Our cities and communities need third places, but to fully reap their benefits, it’s time for the public and for communities to start making their own,” as opposed to corporations. The Curbed piece features perspective from numerous thought leaders and digs deep into what constitutes a valuable third place (breeding grounds for social connections, inclusion and democracy).
David specifically speaks to how he believes architecture can change lives for the better and points to the success of the Lemay Community Recreation and Aquatic Center as a shining example. His contributions to the full piece are excerpted below.
From Curbed’s, “It’s Time to Take Back Third Places”
“When cities start to think of public space as a third space, exciting things can happen. Lemay, a working-class suburban town outside of St. Louis, recently received its first community center. Lemay Community Recreation Center and Aquatic Complex has a public lounge, meeting rooms, and picnic space. There’s also a pool, gym, indoor basketball court, and track. (Some facilities have an annual membership fee, but there are designated open hours and day passes, too.) While Jefferson Park, in which the center is located, offered open space, there weren’t amenities and a central beacon.
“I believe architecture can change people’s lives and change them for the better,” says David Polzin, the executive director of design at CannonDesign, the architecture firm that conceived the building. “When you take an economically and socially struggling community like Lemay you hope [this center] reduces crime, gets kids off the street, makes people healthier, creates a space for meetings seniors that wouldn’t otherwise be able to have. It’s just an incredible improvement and also instills a sense of pride in one’s community. Civic buildings and public buildings like this go a long way to represent who we are. They should be commensurate with our pride of place.”