A Question for the Ages:  Who Owns Space?

The Occupy movement has captivated our national consciousness by using public space to force the acknowledgment of socio-economic inequalities in our society. Occupy has also raised awareness of the policies that govern public space in cities throughout America. Enter #whOWNSpace.

The Occupy movement has captivated our national consciousness by using public space to force the acknowledgment of the socio-economic inequalities that exist in our society. But as a byproduct, Occupy has also raised awareness of the opaque and unsound policies that govern public space in cities throughout America. Enter #whOWNSpace, a collaborative project of New York City based organizations DoTank:Brooklyn, DSGN AGNC and Not an Alternative. The project seeks to ensure that these public space issues, which are critical for democratic movements, are discussed and addressed.

    This project will be used to:
  1. REVEAL conflicting rules and ownerships in the increasingly privatized and commercialized spaces in our cities
  2. QUESTION those rules and the current state of our “public” space; discussing the intentions and conditions surrounding our open spaces
  3. ADVOCATE FOR AND PROPOSE uses and designs that encourage community activist use of urban open spaces in accordance with the Call to Action for the Rights of Neighborhoods
  4. INTERVENE in public space and put ideas into play that have been generated during the previous three steps

Happening Now
The 1% We Own U map and the 99% We Own U map are available for download on the project’s website. The maps highlight, among other things, the correlation between the density of public spaces, including privately owned public spaces (POPS) in Manhattan, and their connection to the financial institutions seen by many as largely responsible for the economic inequality being protested in Zucotti Park.

Happening Soon
During the month of November DoTank:Brooklyn, DSGN AGNC, and Not an Alternative will partner with The Public School to hold a course on #whOWNSpace. In addition to the course, the organizations will launch actions where Occupy movements are thriving and need support, or have been oppressed – places such as Oakland, Boston, and Chicago, to name a few. Keep an eye out for upcoming staging actions within public space and POPS that highlight the public interest in regard to public space, and the rules that support or deny that public interest.

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Tags: new york citybuilt environment

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