Privately Owned Public Space: The New York CityExperience
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More About This Title Privately Owned Public Space: The New York CityExperience


Hailed by the Wall Street Journal as a "juicy little time bomb of a book", Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience examines for the first time, New York City's 39-year mixed experience with the production of more than 500 plazas, parks, and atriums located on private property yet by law accessible to and usable by the public.

Until now, comprehensive, systematic knowledge about this vast collection of public spaces has not existed, either for experts or members of the public. To remedy this gap, Harvard University professor Jerold S. Kayden, The New York City Department of City Planning, and The Municipal Art Society of New York have joined forces to research and write Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience. Through words, photographs, scaled site plans, maps, and analysis of newly assembled data, they examine history, law, design, and use of the city's privately owned public spaces. Each of the more than 500 spaces is individually discussed to provide far-reaching comparative information about this unique category of public space.

In reading this book, designers, planners, lawyers, and academics will gain greater understanding about the possibilities and problems inherent in the design, management, and enforcement of privately owned public space. Public officials, private owners, and civic group representatives will learn more about their roles in ensuring public access and vitality of such spaces. Individuals will discover where New York City's public spaces are located and what amenities they offer. Everyone will comprehend more completely the contribution that privately owned public space can make toward open and attractive cities in which all individuals have access to a diversity of public places.


JEROLD S. KAYDEN, a lawyer and urban planner, is Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He has published widely, coauthoring Landmark Justice: The Influence of William J. Brennan on America's Communities and coediting Zoning and the American Dream: Promises Still to Keep.
THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING guides the City's physical development and formulates land use plans and strategic policies with major goals that include encouraging housing and economic development, improving the City's quality of life, and preserving its neighborhoods.
THE MUNICIPAL ART SOCIETY OF NEW YORK is a private, nonprofit membership organization that champions excellence in urban design and planning, and preservation of the best of New York's past. Situated in the Urban Center in midtown Manhattan, the Society engages citizens on issues of the city's built environment.




Law: Design, Operation, and Enforcement.




Lower Manhattan.

Midtown Manhattan.

Upper Manhattan.

Brooklyn and Queens.




Table: Privately Owned Public Spaces, by Address and Classification.

Photography Credits.




"This extensive work provides for the first time a detailed look at the city's experience, pro and con, through photographs, maps, site plans, observed behaviors, and extensive notes." (, 5/08)

"The Introduction to Privately Owned Private Space is a history of New York City's attempts at planning and zoning beginning in 1916 and continuing to the present. The detail of the history is sharp while not talking down to the novice, and the politics is fascinating." (, April 25, 2001)

"The book should also appeal to any enthusiast of urban spaces anywhere in the world, because the lessons learned in the "Big Apple" are applicable anywhere. This is a history book, an incredibly detailed map of the New York City, and a lesson in civics all rolled into one." (F.L. Andrew Padian,

"This long overdue collaborative effort among urban planning professor Jerold Kayden, New York City's Department of Planning, and the Municipal Art Society, and involving dozens of researchers, is one of the most important books to be published about New York City in years.... Along the same lines, in today's publishing environment, most commercial trade publishers would not likely be interested, and too many high-quality, general interest, New York City-related titles must vie for the limited resources of a few university presses or very small publishing houses that do not have the resources to take on this kind of project -- congratulations to John Wiley for publishing this book." (Bradley Beach Books, 9/01)