In the media coverage of Occupy Wall Street, it has been great to see our former professor Jerold S. Kayden emerge as the go-to expert on publicly-owned private space. (We first met Jerold in his excellent “Public Private Development” Class–which we all took at the GSD in 2000–and subsequently helped him develop a brand around his then nascent “Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space” organization, which was founded after the publication of his exhaustive book on the topic.) As most supporters of the Occupy movement know by now, one of the brilliant things about it is that by occupying Zuccotti Park, they occupied a privately-owned public space that, unlike a city-owned public space, is invited to draft and enforce its own rules of operation (the city only requires that these rules be “reasonable”). Zuccotti Park, by almost any standard, one of the better privately-owned public spaces in the city, had very lax rules: one couldn’t skateboard, roller skate, or bike through the park, but until October 13 of this year, there were no rules prohibiting camping or lying down.
As Kayden writes in his op-ed piece in the Times, “The rules remain unenforced; no one is sure what will happen next.”