The Festive, Convivial Power of Food Courts

By Dom Nozzi

Today we sampled Greenville South Carolina’s “Third Place.” The developer of this food venue assembled a collection of metal shipping container boxes to form a food court offering a wide selection of fun, unusual foods. He named the place “Gather Greenville,” and he seems to have made it that. Very sociable and convivial. We sampled an excellent imperial stout that even my partner – notorious for not liking ANY beer — liked!

Each day the place seems to be full of happy, festive people when we bicycle past this happenin’ place.

I’m very happy (and not surprised) to see a growing number of “food courts” like this being created throughout the nation. They effectively create a convivial sense of community at time when our society has become a nation of loners — isolated from each other by being stuck in metal transportation boxes and privatopia low-density single-family homes. Since humans are hard-wired to be social, I believe a lot of us are craving these sorts of social condensers to replace what we are missing in our isolation from fellow humans. In other words, there is a strong latent demand for more social capital – social capital that is being increasingly delivered by this low-cost food court concept.

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