An Evaluation of the Nature of Public Spaces in the Private Realm over the Examples of Privately Owned Public Spaces in NYC

  • Tuğçe Ertan Izmir Katip Celebi University
  • Hamit Gokay Meric


The designing and implementation of public spaces have a crucial role in the development of cities. A city’s success is generally based on the quality of its public spaces and it is a fact that public space is an elementary aspect of urban life. Moreover, one mandatory standard for big cities to function well is there to be a welcoming public space, where a number of urban activities can take place. According to the general notion, parks, streets, city squares, sidewalks, etc. can be included in public spaces. In addition to these, some indoor spaces such as below ground stories, plaza entrances and places like waterfronts or elevated structures with new functions have been considered as public space nowadays. In order to create, design and finance public spaces, sometimes private organizations and public governmental bodies cooperate. However, a game changer in the public and private realm was the 1961 zoning program of New York City Department of City Planning. This program gave permission to private developers build more floor space than they were allowed in exchange for supplying public spaces. As a result of this act, privately owned public spaces (POPS) were created blurring the definition of public space. Today there are more than five hundred POPS in NYC including indoor and outdoor spaces. This study will try to provide an analysis and general view of POPS as public spaces questioning the issues about their use, control and ownership. The criteria of successful urban design for public spaces and the role of governmental authorities in regulating and planning the public spaces will be discussed along with the boundaries and scope of public activities that can take place in public spaces. Finally, the question of whether the ownership of public space by private harms the concept of public space and the rights of citizens will be approached via different perspectives. After looking at the conceptual definitions of public space in literature and analyzing specific examples of POPS, this paper will attempt to come up with a functioning definition of public space in the private realm.
Jan 21, 2017
How to Cite
ERTAN, Tuğçe; MERIC, Hamit Gokay. An Evaluation of the Nature of Public Spaces in the Private Realm over the Examples of Privately Owned Public Spaces in NYC. European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 1, p. 7-14, jan. 2017. ISSN 2411-4138. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 jan. 2021. doi: