When is a private space a public space? When it's a Privately Owned Public Space (POPS)
. In accordance with the planning codes of some cities, owners or builders of buildings are mandated to provide members of the general public access to spaces which include rooftop gardens, courtyards, and plazas.
But how can you find these hidden gems? Here are some treasure maps:
New York City's Privately Owned Public Space guide
. There is also a collaborative project which rated NYC's POPs
. Probably the best-known POPS in New York City is Zuccotti Park
. Each week, OccupyPOPS
visits different POPS in NYC. whOWNSpace
Pittsburgh is another city where the Occupy movement has occupied a POPS
The Guardian's list of privatised public spaces in Britain
invites additional submissions. Space Hijackers
is a British group which speaks out about the use of space and free speech rights.
San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) points out some Secrets of San Francisco: Where to find our city's POPOS (privately owned public open spaces)
The Planning Commission of the City and County of San Francisco has recently mandated an improvement in signage for POPOS
, which are often obscurely indicated (an example is the rooftop of the Westfield Mall, which is accessible from only one elevator of a bank of four which is found through an door distinct from the entrance of the mall itself.)
In 2006/07 a project called Commonspace
by Rebar Art & Design Studio examined what uses of POPOS would be tolerated; their activities included practicing Balinese monkey chant
; police refused to comply with security guards' attempts to eject them.
Using public spaces freely: Ownership and management of public spaces
is a research paper which discusses the history of New York's POPS and San Francisco's POPOS policies, which began in the 60s, and were subsequently modified, as well as examining the use of public space in Atlanta.
is another place that has had POPS since the 1960s.
is lacking in green spaces, whether private or public. However here's a list of 10 public spaces along the CicLAvia Route
Seattle has also had Privately Owned Public Open Spaces policies since 1966 and the Seattle City Council offers a maps of POPOs in Seattle
Is Discovery Green
in Houston a public or private park?
However, Anil Dash notes that only 16% of POPS can be considered successful
at what they purport to be.
And the privatization of public space
carries free speech ramifications.