APOPS@MAS: your guide to NYC’s Privately Owned Public Spaces

If you’ve spent time in NYC, chances are one of the plazas, arcades, outdoor or indoor spaces you visited was a POPS — a Privately Owned Public Space. And now, you can know all about them, thanks to a new web site we built with the Municipal Art Society and Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space at MAS.

POPS are spaces that a building owner constructs, operates and gives the public access to, in exchange for a zoning bonus. Today there are over 525 POPS throughout the city, all constructed since the early 1960’s, with the most famous being the string of POPS known as 6½ Ave and Zucotti Park. Not all POPS are equally renowned, in some cases having suffered a hidden-in-plain-sight existence. Overly abundant in number, but frequently forgotten in recognition or respect, some have fallen into disrepair, had their public access hours curtailed, or been under-maintained. Meanwhile, others have prospered as community spaces.

The Muncipal Art Society and Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space wanted a site to make it easier for the public to find, report on and talk about POPS in NYC. They created detailed profiles of every POPS, expanding on a book by APOPS’ founder, Jerold S. Kayden, and documents from NYC’s Department of City Planning.  In apops.mas.org, the people of the City of New York have a new resource about public space.

Top of the POPS

apops.mas.org makes POPS searchable and crunchable. You can search by amenity features, by neighborhood location, by address, and via mobile by proximity to you.

One site, every size.

Here are some some tips on using the APOPS@MAS site:

The site is built for mobile and built for desktop, all in one. OpenPlans builds websites for everyone on every device.  Check it out on your desktop and then on your phone. One url, one site, formatting for all.

On a mobile device, hit the navigation button in the upper right button on the map to geo-locate yourself and see nearby POPS.

Search by address/keyword, neighborhoods, or amenities. And speaking of amenities – not all POPS are created equal. Most have seating areas and public art. Yet some have bathrooms, food vendors, and even air conditioning and heat.  While the bathroom availability over the entire city may not be as comprehensive as certain individual’s, there are some magnificent facilities in POPS. Apops.mas.org will lead you right to some great public amenities.

Maps, Data, Action!
Each POPS has a rundown of its space type, size, access hours, completed year, architect and map. Check out this glossary to see what each means. Find which POPS have lush green plantings, public artwork, foot candles, the number of trees and even the type of paving stipulated and the types of furniture. And then check to make sure that the owner is keeping with their responsibility.

Be heard!  Comment on spaces, report problems  and make announcements about good things popping off in a POPS near you.