The Municipal Art Society has long been a steward of New York’s public spaces, including the city’s privately owned public spaces (POPS)—plazas, arcades, and other outdoor and indoor spaces encouraged by concessions offered to private developers by the City’s zoning resolution since 1961. POPS can make a valuable contribution to New York City’s livability given their location in some of the city’s densest neighborhoods.
In 2000, MAS, Harvard University urban planning and design Professor Jerold Kayden and the Department of City Planning, examined POPS in the book Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience.
Although the book described problems with the design, use, and management of some spaces, it also described many good spaces scattered throughout the city. More than a decade later, with renewed interest in the role that public space can play in enhancing the city’s livability, the MAS and Professor Kayden, with his organization Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space, have teamed up again to “advocate” for public use of these civic assets. APOPS@MAS will work with owners of POPS, city officials, and members of the public to encourage improvements to public space design, operation, and use.
Visit apops.mas.org to explore our “beta” website about New York City’s remarkable collection of 525 or so zoning-created plazas, arcades, and other outdoor and indoor privately owned public spaces.