Wednesday, October 26, 2011


#occupywallstreet, Zuccotti Park NYC
#occupywallstreet began as an effort to hold accountable the institutions that caused the economic collapse the United States has experienced since 2008. In the process, however, the occupation has also brought up some important issues surrounding public space in the contemporary neoliberal North American city.

First, It has pointed out the obscure and conflicting ownerships and rules that govern urban open space. Zuccotti park was chosen because as a Privately-Owned Public Space (POPS) it is open 24 hours a day and thus an easier target for an occupation. In other words, a public demonstration would have been harder in a city-owned public space. Yet those rules can change suddenly and without public recourse as many current POPS owners are trying to do in light of what is happening in Manhattan's financial district. Thus, the occupation has shown that there are major problems with the way our open spaces, both public and private, are governed.

Second, #occupywallstreet has shown that coordinated and collective use can serve to change the rules and the way urban spaces behave. In this case it is a continuous occupation to call attention to political and economic inequity and injustice

#whOWNSpace is a collaborative started by DSGN AGNC in conversations with DoTank:Brooklyn and Not An Alternative and -- three organizations that have been dealing with spatial politics. Our goal is to gain many other collaborators and together learn from what has happened at Zuccotti park -- using design and art as an advocacy tool so that community groups and activists can continue to use collectively owned and organized urban spaces to further their political, social, and economic agendas.

Our goals are:

1- TO REVEAL conflicting rules and ownerships in the increasingly privatized and commercialized spaces that make up the contemporary neoliberal urban condition

2- TO QUESTION those rules and the current state of our "public" space; discussing the intentions and conditions surrounding our open spaces

3- TO ADVOCATE FOR AND PROPOSE new uses and designs that encourage more public and open spaces for neighborhood uses in accordance to the Call to Action for the Rights of Neighborhoods 

4- TO INTERVENE in urban spaces, turning ideas and research into material action

We Create Tools that Reveal Spatial Conflict
We Question Private Space
We Question Public Space
We Advocate for Change
We Conceive of Alternatives for Collective use


1 comment:

  1. Many of these spaces are supposedly for "passive recreation" according to their private owners but city ordinances allow for much more active use, within a standard of "reasonable conduct". I get a sense Trump's guards at 57 and 5th would be very upset with any political speech in their enclosed POP, even though that would not be violating any laws. Just an idea.