The Hunt For Boston’s Privately-Owned, Public Spaces

The plaza at 500 Boylston Street in downtown Boston -- one of the city's privately-owned, public spaces. (Courtesy Paul L. Dineen)

The plaza at 500 Boylston Street in downtown Boston — one of the city’s privately-owned, public spaces. (Courtesy Paul L. Dineen)

Scattered around Boston are a number of outdoor and indoor spaces which are privately owned, but legally required to be open to the public.

But how many are there? Where are they located? When can the public use them?

We tour some of the city’s privately-owned public spaces, or “POPS.”


Jerold Kayden, professor of urban planning and design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


ArchitectureBoston: The City Should Compile A Directory Of Public Spaces

  • “So how many POPS does Boston have? Where are they located? How many have seating, landscaping, public art, restrooms, or water fountains? When do they open and close? How many are indoor, heated, and air-conditioned? Are they operated at all times in compliance with applicable legal requirements? These questions have answers, but it is unlikely anyone knows them all. Most important, the public does not know the answers.”

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Host Meghna Chakrabarti introduces us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and brings us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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