Week 11 Main Blog: The Lines Between Private and Public (and what on earth are POPS)

Allow me to illustrate the difference between Private spaces, public spaces and POPS (Privately-Owned Public Spaces), with an elaborate analogy that has nothing to do with this issue and will probably make little sense to anybody but me. Private spaces are like a journal. It belongs to me, I can do whatever I want with it and I can prosecute punish someone if they try to read it. Because its mine.

Public spaces are like discussion forums online for classes. Anybody can use them along with you, it can be a place to interact with other people, and it is controlled by someone with authority (and who is the person who has the final say on all that goes on within the forum)

Finally, POPS are like our blogs. We run them, and they are technically owned and controlled by us – but they are up for the perusal and enjoyment of the larger public. Anybody can come in and visit, and stroll scroll around as they please.

And that’s my understanding of what makes POPS great, people can enjoy them and there is no need for an harried TA with already too much work on his/her plate to actually maintain and run the whole thing.

And turns out the Toronto City Council actually agreed with me. According to this article, the city is not only mapping the variety of POPS that exist in the city, there is going to be an increased effort to raise awareness about these areas and make them more accessible for all citizens. This includes adding signs in these spaces to inform people that the areas are open to the public.

I believe this is a a great project that the city is undertaking, especially with the growing pressure being placed on the city’s public spaces alongside the steady increase in the number of people immigrating to the city each year  (one such person being me). There is an increased risk that public spaces, especially parks may be replaced in favor of accommodating the growing population. Even POPS can be in danger, for example just recently the investment trust RioCan received approval to replace a publicly accessible square at Yonge and Eglinton Centre, with a three storey mall extension



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