Third places need to be accessible to people both geographically and temporally. If you have to drive 30 minutes to get there then you won't do it very often. If it's only open when you're at work then you can't go there. Pretty simple stuff.
One quote stuck out to me, "the activity that goes on in third places is largely unplanned, unscheduled, unorganized, and unstructured. Here, however, is the charm. It is just these deviations from the middle-class penchant for organization that give the third place much of its character and allure . . ."
Does that appeal to you? How can the church take part in this? Isn't all the unplanned stuff antithetical to ministry (joke intended)?
The main product that makes a third place a third place cannot be purchased. It is the regulars that make or break an establishment. The regulars are the people who make up the community of a third place. They are the people that converse and play and help one another. But how does one become a regular? Trust must be established through regular attendance and "fair play". Oldenburg uses the analogy of sandlot baseball: the players that show up consistantly and play a decent game are accepted. I love the way he boils it down, "Mainly, one simply keeps reappearing and tries not to be obnoxious."
Isn't that hard, though. I want to just show up and be accepted right away. I don't want to take all the work of showing up for a long time so that I can be accepted. I guess good things take work.