Our website is a digital space for collaboration about physical space. We invite you to participate in the creation of knowledge designed to secure greater public use of New York City’s 525 or so POPS, those zoning-created plazas, arcades, and other outdoor and indoor privately owned public spaces.
The website provides a foundation of legal and other information about all privately owned public spaces in New York City. It offers many pathways to find a POPS that interests you and to learn more about it. Keyword searches, a clickable map, a gallery of photographs, POPS listed by address and neighborhood, and a filtering feature to locate POPS with food service, artwork, restrooms, and seating are available. You can geo-locate yourself and nearby POPS on your mobile device.
For each of the 525 or so POPS, the website provides written profiles, photographs, site plans, and a recitation of legal obligations. Most written profiles are drawn from Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience (John Wiley & Sons 2000), written by Harvard Professor Jerold S. Kayden in collaboration with the New York City Department of City Planning and the Municipal Art Society of New York. Given its 2000 publication date, some of the written profiles may no longer accurately describe some or all aspects of a given space. Even if out-of-date, however, the older written profiles provide a history of the space and may be compared to conditions today. Most legal obligations remain in place, but some have been modified by the city and owner since 2000. APOPS and the City are updating the legal obligations and new information will be posted as soon as it is available. Similarly, site plans are being reviewed to ensure that they represent current legal obligations.
You — city residents and employees, POPS owners, public officials, civic activists, design and planning professionals, and others local and worldwide who share a fascination with the very idea of privately owned public space — are our partners. Our website depends mightily on your interest in and willingness to contribute ideas and information about specific POPS or the idea of POPS. We encourage you to submit new written profiles, photographs, videos, redesigns, comments, program proposals, or reports of problems. We expect to publish most of what you submit. Please help us identify discrepancies between on-the-ground realities and the information currently presented on the website. Most important, however, submit ideas that will make an individual POPS or all POPS better. We promise to do our best not only to publish your idea, but to help implement it. If we all do our jobs correctly, this digital space will enhance the physical space that is the ultimate object of our affections.
Conceived by Professor Kayden, working with the Municipal Art Society, this website would not have been possible without contributions from many individuals over many years. We would especially like to acknowledge the following: Richard Barth, Kent Barwick, Genie Birch, Amanda Burden, Melissa Cerezo, Vin Cipolla, Edith Hsu-Chen, David Karnovsky, Brenda Levin, Amanda Miller, Ellen Nicholson, Rebecca Robertson, Joe Rose, Phil Schneider, Alexis Taylor, Patrick Too, and Douglas Woodward. Finally, we thank designer Sarah Rainwater and developers Antonio Lettieri and Jake Camara for working with us on the website’s design and development.