Community, in first, second and third place

Rural aficionado Michael Knutson’s tweets yesterday mentioned “third places” – a term, we discovered, used in community planning to identify a community’s social gathering places, like pubs, diners and coffeehouses. People also have “first places” (home) and “second places” (work) in communities.
 
Together, these three types of place give communities, rural communities included, their sense of place. And good work is being done across rural Minnesota to strengthen people’s homes, in every sense.
 
UFF-DA, Habitat for Humanity Minnesota’s affiliate newsletter, tallies trends from Habitat’s new home construction in the past three years: families and homes are getting smaller, but construction costs are not.
 
During his recent keynote address to Habitat’s annual meeting, Blandin Foundation CEO Jim Hoolihan shared the story of the community of Jacobson’s founding. More than 100 years ago people came together to literally build a community — and a community center that still stands today.
 
Folks in Staples, some of whom are alumni of Blandin’s leadership training program, created Stomping Grounds, a place for folks to gather over a cuppa joe.
 
With this kind of effort and energy being invested, it’s no wonder rural Minnesota communities have a wealth of assets on which to build a great future.