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Two Cities Aim to Curb the Privatization of Public Spaces

Granary Square is a privately owned public space in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Following investigations in London and New York earlier this year, officials in both cities have announced legislation to regulate privately owned public spaces, or POPS.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that he will draw up a charter governing the “rights and responsibilities” of POPS’ owners and users, the Guardian reports. Khan’s announcement follows a Guardian investigation that highlighted a hodgepodge of murky rules regulating such spaces, which included the site of City Hall itself — owned, as it turns out, by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Kuwait (Next City covered that investigation here). Because private entities own the spaces, security guards can bar members of the public from holding protests or taking photos.

Meanwhile, legislation that passed the New York City Council earlier this month aims to hold local landlords accountable for their POPS.

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