Privately-Owned Public Open Spaces (POPOS) are publicly accessible spaces in the form of plazas, terraces, atriums and small parks that are maintained by private developers but accessible to all.
Prior to 1985, developers provided POPOS under three general circumstances: voluntarily, in exchange for a density bonus, or as a condition of approval. The 1985 Downtown Plan created the first systemic requirements for developers to provide publicly accessible open space as a part of projects in C-3 Districts. The goal was to “provide in the downtown quality open space in sufficient quantity and variety to meet the needs of downtown workers, residents and visitors.” Since then project sponsors may provide POPOS instead of their required open spaces in other districts such as Eastern Neighborhoods.
Over the past two summers, San Francisco’s Planning Department has cataloged all POPOS and required Public Artworks in San Francisco, mapping the results of their survey for all to interactively search and see.
Beginning next month, the Planning Department’s Zoning and Compliance Division will begin reviewing POPOS sites that were approved subject to the Downtown Plan for compliance with signage and access.
∙ Privately-Owned Public Open Space and Public Art Interactive Map [sf-planning.org]