One of the recurring themes in Anthora's work is escaping the commodity appearance of competition. So many apartment communities were built in locations at the same time as others that it can be hard to stand out. Neither names nor fancy monument signs can be relied upon as differentiators. In addition to operational improvements, Anthora stresses the notion of creating "Third Places", a term coined by Ray Oldenberg to describe:
"[T]he public places on neutral ground where people can gather and interact. In contrast to first places (home) and second places (work), third places allow people to put aside their concerns and simply enjoy the company and conversation around them. Third places “host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.”
Off-site, these places are known as cafes, parks, Starbucks, libraries, basketball courts, and public buildings.
On-site, these places abound: pool decks, fitness centers, clubhouses, picnic areas, game rooms or any area where residents can gather ad hoc without advance notice or planning. In properties with high transiency, effective third spaces create community, allowing shared wisdowm to be distributed to others. By deepening the notion of community, owners can improve the "stickiness" of residents, achieving a few months or a year more of residency than they might otherwise expect.
Effective third places work for residents but also work well for prospects. The image of residents spending time out of their units, conversing, firing up a grill, playing at the pool, throwing a ball, or engaging in other activities gives a reassuring "home" feeling to a property.