Thanks to the pandemic, coffee shops around the country have closed, reduced their hours or restricted indoor seating. This means more than lost wages for the employees and extra miles on your drip coffee maker. Three architecture and design scholars from the University at Buffalo explain how it also represents the loss of a space that encourages random encounters that are important incubators for ideas and inspiration.

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Nick Lehr

Arts + Culture Editor

By encouraging random encounters and free-flowing conversation, coffee shops are engines of innovation. Hulton Archive/Stringer via Getty Images

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Korydon Smith, University at Buffalo; Kelly Hayes McAlonie, University at Buffalo; Rebecca Rotundo, University at Buffalo

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