Which Public? Conflict as catalyst.

Quilian Riano

ARPA Journal

June 24, 2014


“Out of curiosity I recently opened Google’s search engine and typed “public space NYC.” 1 I did this expecting that “parks and recreation” might appear, with some sort of official definition and a set of rules. Yet, the first hit—actually, almost the entire first page of results—was dedicated to Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS). You can find a legal definition, location, quantity, and even some advocacy work around the spaces. One official city government page even boasts that POPS create 3.5 million square feet of “public” space “in parts of the city with little access to public parks.” 2 No mention is made as to why those areas lack the public resources to create city-owned parks to begin with.”