There is a lack of true public space within the Financial District of Toronto with Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) predominately replacing public areas. However, POPS are built by private developers as a trade-off for lenient zoning regulations and air rights, and therefore do not share the same qualities that public areas offer. Public places are a multidimensional and complex topic that has evolved over time. For the purpose of this analysis, it is defined as an area that yields ownership to the public and allows free access to the place for activities of one’s choice. Public areas provide, and are often utilized by the public as a site for comfort, relaxation, both passive and active engagement with the environment, and discovery.
POPS fall short on all five of these domains, not fulfilling the function of true public areas. As a response to the current lack of public areas in the Financial District of Toronto and the inability of POPS to satisfy the needs of the public, a mobile lawn picnic has been conceived to bring awareness to the issue and at the same time, provide a temporary public area where people can relax, interact with others, or simply do as they wish. This is a guerrilla project that adopts a relational aesthetics approach. A piece of artificial turf is rolled out and a lawn picnic scenario is created at a POPS in the Financial District (Bay and King).