Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Privately developed and managed public spaces

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus pcjournal's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Burlington, VT
    Posts
    48

    Privately developed and managed public spaces

    Should major public spaces be privately developed & managed? What are the pros & cons? What does it say about our cities? Would welcome comments/feedback as I truly have mixed feelings.

    If you have a minute, take a look first at my blog posting today about Detroit's privately owned & managed Campus Martius downtown park: www.circletheusa.com/2009/06/campus-martius.html

    Wayne Senville, Editor
    PlannersWeb.com / Planning Commissioners Journal
    P.O. Box 4295, Burlington, VT 05406

    Website: www.plannersweb.com/
    Linkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/waynesenville
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/PlanningJournal
    email: pcjoffice@gmail.com


  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2005
    Location
    The Gig City
    Posts
    2,677
    First thing I can think of, late at night here, is that a private park/area can restrict who and what is done on its property without as much concern for 1st amendment rights as a public park would. I compare it to a shopping mall, privately owned and operated, and they can deny access to whom they want.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,150
    My take would be that:

    1) a municipality needs to provide sufficient PUBLIC space accessible to all. Provided that is present, Iíve got no problem with general-access private space co-existing (as long as it's not subsidized by the government)

    2) It may make sense for the public sector to farm out the management and administration of public space to a private or non-profit organization, as long as some basic rules of public access, etc. are maintained.

    3) a robust right of access / right of movement legislation can also help. Basically, I would like to see the right to deny access by private bodies be circumscribed, depending on the nature of the space. For instance. A private house: total right to exclude a stranger. Open plaza in front of a building accessible from the public highway: I would say if someone isn't causing a disturbance, impeding pedestrian traffic, etc. you should not have a right to tell them to bugger off and if you DO, you should have to call a cop (but that assumes plentiful L.E. officers)
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,981
    I would appreciate an urban place for quiet repose; not bothered by panhandlers, street walkers, gangs, PETA petitioning against someone for killing a fly. The liberal in me knows that such people have rights and should have places to congregate. However, I want the right to a place where I am not bothered by them.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    I will read your review of my park later, but I love how it works. It is easily the most well-maintained park in the great lakes region and there are no bums hassling you due to extra security that is there to enforce those laws.

    Prior to this park being here it was a virtual no mans land where several major streets came together in a free-for-all of traffic. It was nearly all hard pavement and pedestrian islands. Now in its place is a modified traffic circle containing this park.

    In addition, the conservancy finds many activities for year round enjoyment. You may have a concert going on in one end of the park, and a children story-teller on the other. Having a cafe in the park is also a plus and brings people to it.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2003
    Location
    near Baltimore, Maryland
    Posts
    202
    Luca pointed up my concerns pretty well. It can work okay, if the private manager/developer's powers to control people's behavior is carefully restricted, and if there is also truly public space accessible to the same area. A private manager should be able to quickly quash real problems, like panhandling, disturbances, pickpocketing and other crime, littering, drunks, etc. But they should not be allowed to censor what people say (if it's not threatening or publicly pornographic), or waste time hassling people for little things, like the Rouse Company (former manager of Baltimore's Harborplace) did banning a street performer known for his sharp-tongued comedy routine a few years back. (The guy's street-performing permit was reinstated some time later after publicity, notably in the Baltimore Sun, which has been sadly gutted in the last couple of years.)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2003
    Location
    near Baltimore, Maryland
    Posts
    202
    Quick addendum RE private managers quashing disruptions, etc in their space:
    Any resource-strapped police force would appreciate the help.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,517
    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    First thing I can think of, late at night here, is that a private park/area can restrict who and what is done on its property without as much concern for 1st amendment rights as a public park would. I compare it to a shopping mall, privately owned and operated, and they can deny access to whom they want.
    I had a very interesting PhD student in Computational something-something in one of my grad classes. He was interested in 'contested space' and esp constructed space, e.g. The Internets. One of his projects in our class was a video of a private-but-nominally public space in Seattle. It was extraordinary how he was able to deconstruct the contested spaces in this private space - it was as if the body language and aspect and the way people comported themselves served to keep out 'the public' who were unwilling to contest that space...

  9. #9
    My problem with these spaces is that htey are so limited in their scope. They all seem to be in downtowns where a major corporations or groups of companies take control of them. They do not provide any solution for the large numbers of open spaces in a city where there are no such corporate neighbors.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered
    May 2009
    Location
    Tilburg, noord-brabant
    Posts
    4
    I think that maybe it also depends where this pblic space is situated, i mean if in big city or in smaller town, which are more often not as rich as big urban centers. I can only give You an example, I came from Poland, and in a town of 50.000 people the best maintain, and the best lawn is on the Mc Donald's spot - so private, but for everyone
    (I am begginer in urban planning,but sometimes thoughs like that can give some new ideas)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Upper left edge
    Posts
    4,171
    If I read the blog correctly, Central Park in NYC also is privately run. Is that so? If it is, that's a pretty powerful statement of how successful they can be.

    In any event, it appears that Campus Martius is itself a success. I think the concern that not every area is going to get a privately funded park is overblown. Undoubtedly they aren't, but perhaps the private funded downtown parks free up enough public money, that now doesn't have to go downtown, so that those other areas are more likely to get publicly funded parks.

    Probably among the keys to success with this type of project is buy-in by the public, a good set of documents covering in detail the responsibilities/powers of all parties (principally, I imagine, the conservancy and the city), a stable funding program (endowment, user fees, special tax base, or whatever), and an aggressive maintenance program (Slightly off-topic: when Washington DC's metro subways went on line, they initially had a huge police presence on board and all graffitti were removed and all vandalism was repaired every day. The result was public confidence in the system and pride in it).

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    16
    It's an interesting idea. I work for a University and our campus is technically private (under our legislation we can even charge an entry fee, but never would). The benefit for us is that we attract people to our campus through its landscape qualities and the local residents have access and walk their dogs etc through the park lands. We also get the benefits of passive surveillance from people wandering through etc.

    The interesting this is the response of the local councils out here, who have not provided public parkland for private or active recreation and rely on the University's open spaces for their residents. But in the end, all groups appear happy with this scenario.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Southeast US
    Posts
    530
    Interesting concept, but I did not understand the financing nor the continued financing. How is the thing supported on a continuing basis, or self supported? Does it rely strictly on government or private (foundation) continual financing?

    Is it allowed to provide services at a profit?

  14. #14
    I, too, think the privately developed and managed public spaces is an intriguing concept. Sorry for being NYcentric, but take Bryant Park, in NYC, for example:
    http://www.bryantpark.org/park-management/overview.php

    "Bryant Park Corporation" is a not-for-profit, private management that overseas the everyday of the park. Nevertheless, this corporation has partnerships with other busineses in the city.

    For instance, summer time boasts various events open to the public (absolutely no advanced tickets/reservations, etc.). These include:
    - Movie series sponsored by HBO
    - NY Fashion week was hosted in the park (will be moving next year)
    - free yoga & tai chi lessons- for the public
    - free wi-fi

    While there are obvious corporate times, which should be monitored for the good of the public, overall I do not think that the freedom of the public citizen is compromised as a result of the private vs. public run park. In fact, the park is so beautifully well kept, cleaned, and landscaped. Yes, there are restrictions from musicians, etc. busking for money, but that is technically illegal throughout NYC.

    While NYC's economic landscape is far different from a smaller city, or town, I'd nevertheless like to see & hear of similar results in other places!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,488

    Hmm.....

    In central business district areas where property needs to be banked for high rise development or TDR's implemented, I see no problem with the banked land being constructed as a park by the developer and maintained as long as the building is in place. The written agreement between owner and City would outline the specific uses allowed on the property and maintenance responsibilities.
    Skilled Adoxographer
    I have two emotions....Silence and Rage

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 2
    Last post: 08 Oct 2012, 1:11 PM
  2. Replies: 10
    Last post: 22 Feb 2010, 12:32 PM
  3. Replies: 5
    Last post: 09 Feb 2009, 3:19 AM
  4. Replies: 3
    Last post: 16 May 2005, 10:26 AM
  5. Copyrighting public spaces?
    Economic and Community Development
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 07 Mar 2005, 3:21 PM