Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Defending Public Space - Liberty Plaza Opens Up

Image showing stacked barricades from the Village Voice article "The Re-Occupation of Zuccotti Park"
 On December 15th, 2011 #whOWNSpace launched an effort to #occupyDOB by asking you to send them a reminder about the rules regarding Privately Owned Public Spaces and their accessibility. Over 100 individuals responded to our call and submitted complaints of non-compliance to the NYC  Department of Buildings. After weeks of pressuring city hall, with your support, this week #whOWNSpace was joined in our effort to open up public space by three of the leading civil rights organizations: the New York Civil Liberties Union, The Center for Constitutional Rights, and National Lawyers Guild - New York City Chapter.  Together they urged the city to halt restrictions to Liberty (Zuccotti) Plaza.

Yesterday, January 10th, 2012, the city removed the barriers around Liberty Plaza and opened up the space once again for public use. We are happy and proud to have brought attention to this issue resulting in prompt action by the city. We are already looking at other public spaces, privately owned and otherwise, to work on similar campaigns. Our goal is to uphold the rules that protect public open spaces (parks, plazas, etc...) so that they are accessible and open for use by all -- regardless of ownership.

Although the barricades are down, we are continuing an effort to understand why they were up in the first place. We are awaiting a response -- due Tuesday -- from the NYPD to a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request about their internal communications regarding the barricades

Press for #occupyDOB:
The Re-Occupation of Zuccotti Park (Village Voice, 01.10.12)
Groups: Barricades at NYC ex-Occupy camp illegal (Wall Street Journal - Associated Press, 01.09.12)
You're Now (Sort of) Free to Enter Zuccotti Park (Atlantic Cities, 01.03.12)

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