The Guardian is embarking on an ambitious project to create a map of privatised public spaces in Britain

Image credit: Ed Wall
Mapping the privatisation of public space mage credit: Ed Wall

Welcoming assistance and contributions from members of the public, the newspaper is eager to highlight the gradual privatisation of public space.

Perhaps the latest example of this trend is the newly regenerated Granary Square development in Kings Cross, which will soon be privately owned having previously been a public space. And across Britain, from Birmingham to Liverpool, there are a number of similar examples.

While these spaces, which had become wastelands, might never have been rescued without private investment, the change to the ownership of our landscape is something that the paper deems worthy of monitoring.

The Guardian is reaching out for help from its readers because of the difficulty in tracking the change. It is possible to search land registries covering England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but you can only gain access to them one at a time and there is a charge for each fresh search.

For details of how to search privatised spaces near you and contribute to the project, visit:

Join the Twitter conversation by using the hash tag #keeppublic

Two articles in the Spring 2012 issue of Landscape by landscape architect Ed Wall and journalist Anna Minton ask where the alternatives are to an incresingly privatised public realm and explore how political and social upheavals can force us to confront a reality far removed from the one envisioned in any masterplan.


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