Finnish cottages as third places

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
75 + 3
Third places have been studied for decades as public spaces and in regards to their importance for communities and their residents, and the special characteristics of third place experience. Finnish cottages, albeit private homes, have certain similarities with third places in regards to the cottage experience and their significance for their owners. The objective of this study is primarily to understand the Finnish cottage experience and compare to the experience of public third places, and additionally to study the benefits people experience at the cottage and their effect on their lives. This study is qualitative and the data was collected from in-depth interviews with individuals who primarily lived in the mnetropolitan area of Helsinki. A total of 15 interviews was conducted and the data analysis followed a grounded theory approach. The findings from the interviews were cross referenced with the literature review in order to answer the research questions of the study. The findings from the interviews provided insight into both how Finnish cottages are experienced as places and how differ from public third places, as well as the benefits they offer their visitors. Although the main research question was how Finnish cottages are experienced as third places, much of the focus of this study moved towards the benefits of the cottages and their recreational abilities. Finnish cottages are of great significance for their owners and their families and have potential as suitable servicescapes for several benefits for their visitors. Cottages were found to have several similarities with public third places in regards to how people feel and the activities they choose to participate when visiting them, as well as the special bond that regular visitors share with their third places. In addition, cottages were also found to offer excellent opportunities for attention restoration and mental relaxation to their owners.
Thesis advisor
Arnould, Eric
third places, cottages, attention restoration theory, benefits
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