The problem with privately owned public spaces (‘POPS’) and how we can improve them

Posted On Mon, December 19, 2016 By

Posted On Mon, December 19, 2016 By In City Living, Features, Policy, Urban Design

The Atlantic and the New York Times recently exposed the privately owned public spaces (known as “POPS”) in the Trump Tower as being far from “public.” As both journalists demonstrated, most of the Trump Tower public spaces were either cordoned off or non-existent, most notably, the case of the missing bench. A long bench was supposed to be available to the public in the main lobby but was removed as Donald Trump explained, “due to tremendous difficulties with respect to the bench—drug addicts, vagrants, et cetera have come to the atrium in large numbers. Additionally, all sorts of ‘horrors’ had been taking place that effectively ruined the beautiful ambience of the space which everyone loves so much.” In exchange for providing the POPS, the Trump Tower was able to add roughly 20 extra floors for the 66-story building by including a public atrium, restrooms, two upper-level public gardens and the now replaced bench. So what exactly are POPS, how are they monitored and is there a way to make them more successful?

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