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Liisa Østrem

  • Architecture and Urban Design
  • MA
  • THE FOURTH PLACE a space that nurtures tolerance
  • Tutor: Laura Linsi, Roland Reemaa and Eik Hermann

This master’s thesis purpose is rethinking the disappearing indoor malls into a public space with, where the underprivileged residents would feel equal to others. There is a lack of public space in cities that supports social equality and interaction.

One of the biggest threats in demolishing declining indoor malls is gentrification and its consequences, that mostly affect the underprivileged.

The name of the fourth place comes from the third places, termin that was coined by the American urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg. According to Oldenburg, the third places are public spaces in the city, such as a café, a bar, a park and a department store, which supports the social equality of people. As part of this master’s thesis, I argue that third places do not support social equalization, as many of them require shopping on the spot or entering for money.

The fourth place is a public indoor space created for social purposes, which offers a flexible democratic space for the inhabitants of the city, where dialogue between different people and spontaneous use of space is encouraged. Using existing assets for further progress and avoiding gentrification.

The object of this master’s thesis project is located in the city of Oslo, where the fading indoor mall Gunerius is threatened to be replaced with a business district, which would result in gentrification of the area.

The main functions of Gunerius´ fourth place are education and self-realization through food and art. Gunerius’ fourth place is based on valuing and using the existing.