Urban Field Notes: Oakland POPOS
Words and pictures by Brandon DurantOctober 26, 2016
1111 Broadway: this lively POPOS near Oakland City Center can be accessed via a small entrance on 11th or 12th Street.
Cities move quickly. Finding a place of serenity is becoming increasingly difficult, as we continue to build and densify. POPOS — an awkward acronym for “privately owned public open spaces” — allow people to pause from the hustle and bustle. Some POPOS are designed in plain-sight as plazas or large seating areas but many are hidden from view. Developers are often required to incorporate these types of public spaces into new buildings but tend to tuck them behind or perch them on their rooftops.
SPUR has extensively documented San Francisco’s many POPOS but across the bay, the story of Oakland’s POPOS has remained largely untold (Wikipedia page notwithstanding). Five of these spaces, which all feel like hidden natural oases, are within a half-mile radius of SPUR’s Oakland outpost at 1544 Broadway. By highlighting these relatively new spaces, we aim to encourage people to take more time to reconnect with nature in the city and with themselves.