Identifying and working in gathering places

Gathering places are a site where people regularly meet and discuss items of interest to themselves and their community/neighborhood. They serve as an excellent place to gather information and to validate issues. Gathering places can also be used to disseminate new information or dispel myths/misinformation (either by posting notices or talking with people).

Informal gathering places

Informal gathering places are usually easily accessible and open to everyone. Examples are a park, a bowling alley, or a coffee shop. These places are associated with informal networks and people in these networks know who they will likely find at these places at certain times.

Formal gathering places:

Formal groups tend to meet in a distinctive setting such as a school, firehouse, or government meeting area. Access to formal gathering places are sometimes restricted, either by location or by exclusion from the group itself. Formal group meetings are usually scheduled well in advance and may be publicly noticed.

Gathering places are central to how informal community systems function: most importantly, they serve as a communication hub for citizen opinion on a project or program.