The Municipal Art Society of New York has long championed New York City’s public spaces. Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space and its founder, Harvard Professor Jerold S. Kayden, have focused on a subset of the city’s public spaces known as privately owned public spaces, or POPS. Encouraged by the provision since 1961 of valuable zoning concessions to office and residential developers, these 525 or so plazas, arcades, and other outdoor and indoor spaces are required by law to be open to public use. A book published in 2000 and written by Professor Kayden, in collaboration with the New York City Department of City Planning and the MAS, revealed a mixed record of public space performance. While some amply serve the public need for places to congregate and pursue a variety of activities, others are dreary and vacant spaces.
Now, the MAS, APOPS, and Professor Kayden have joined forces in a project entitled APOPS@MAS to invigorate the city’s collection of POPS. Visit apops.mas.org to learn more about this collaboration and about how members of the public may participate.