A Public Champion for the Public Realm

Policy Brief from the Fight for Light Campaign

August 19, 2020

Unlike many other cities of its size, including Paris, Los Angeles, and Boston, New York lacks a central position within its government for planning and maintaining the public realm. Composed of streets, sidewalks, parks, plaza, waterfronts, natural areas, and more, this system of public spaces represent roughly 40 percent of the city’s land mass.

This policy brief, released by MAS in partnership with New Yorkers for Parks, outlines the vast array of agencies that govern these areas, including the Departments of City Planning, Transportation, Parks & Recreation, Design & Construction, Environmental Protection, Education, Small Business Services, and more.

Together we have called for the creation of a New York City Director of the Public Realm.

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  • graphic of New York City agencies overseeing the city's public realm
    The jumble of key agencies and entities that oversee elements of the public realm. Rendering: MAS
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  • Cover for the Fight for Light policy brief, A Public Champion for the Public Realm, calling for the Director of the Public Realm
    Cover for the Fight for Light policy brief, A Public Champion for the Public Realm, calling for the Director of the Public Realm
    photo 2 of 2