Taking Stock of POPS

Zuccatti is one of 391 privately owned public spaces. (AN/Stoelker)

Zuccotti is one of 391 privately owned public spaces in NYC. (AN/Stoelker)

Last week, The New York World, a website produced by Columbia’s Journalism School, along with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show completed a crowd-sourced survey of New York City’s privately owned public spaces (POPS). The World consulted Jerold Kayden’s 2000 tome, Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience, as a guide to gauge whether the private entities were keeping the public parks truly public and user-friendly. Kayden, who is co-chairing tomorrow’s Zoning the City conference with Commissioner Amanda Burden, has been the go-to expert on subject since Occupy Wall Streeters took over the world’s most famous POPS, Zuccotti Park.  All told, nearly 150 sites out of 391 around New York City were visited and commented on for the survey.

A meeting of the OWS general assembly.

OWS general assembly is held in what now may be the world's most famous POPS.

The staff at The World are now waiting on documents from City Planning that specify the widely varying agreements that each of the private entities holds with the city.  “We’re going to do a certain amount of sorting through,” editor Alyssa Katz told AN, adding that the site plans use the survey results and documents “as a jumping off point for more reporting.”

Even though the the group finished their initial analysis, Katz said editors of site with its crowd-sourced info. will continue to monitor feedback.  The public can still to pop in on a POPS and report back as to whether the parks are locked up and badly maintained or open and well kept. Either way, The World is now keeping tabs.

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