ICE-POPS: Project Description

ICE-POPS: Interested Critical Explorers of Privately-Owned Public Space, is an open collective of researchers, artists, writers, planners, and urban explorers operating across different cities in the United States. We are fascinated by the ways in which people all over the world have been inspired to rethink the way spaces are used in their cities, and we are passionate about the connection between public space and democracy.

As a multi-city research task force, we identify and catalog privately-owned public spaces (POPS) and other public-private developments, conduct walking tours of these sites, and offer online tools for people to upload their own information about land ownership and use. We provide resources for groups and individuals across the country to conduct tours and information-sharing sessions that address local needs. We provide an interactive platform that aggregates information from cities throughout the United States, and we develop technologies for disseminating that information as widely as possible.

We believe that spaces are not public until the public knows about them. We feel that information-sharing is itself a radical act and that research can be poetic, brash, quiet, performative. The information that we collect is not reserved for a specific group of people, and we make no prescriptions about how it might be used. We offer up the fruits of our research in the hopes that we can work collaboratively to make our cities more open and more public.

ICE-POPS was featured in Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good, an exhibition featuring grassroots design ideas across the United States. The exhibition first appeared at the U.S. Pavilion of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennial, where it received "special mention" from the jury.