Public – or is it?

The Guardian is launching a new database of privatised public spaces in Britain, amid fears about creeping privatisation, in which streets and open spaces are being redefined as private land after redevelopment.

The project will look at open spaces, from streets and city squares to village greens, beaches and riverbanks, where there’s a reasonable expectation that the space might be public. Readers are being asked to look at redeveloped spaces in their area, find out as much detail as possible, and add details to an online notice board.

While the obvious fear is a land grab of the public realm by private companies, the realities of a site can be complex. Private investment can revive run-down public areas and sometimes spaces were also not previously genuinely public. The project aims to map developments and find out more.

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