Says Kent: "Places are people too, my friends." / Photo: Sittingo.com

We’re excited to announce today that PPS is launching a new campaign to extend First Amendment rights to public places.

As the culmination of our long effort to give voice to places around the country, we have filed an Amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging Constitutional recognition of the inherent personhood of Place, ensuring the same right to freedom of speech as human beings. We believe that this follows naturally from the Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court Ruling, which gave corporations the same legal rights as people.

In nearly 40 years of work across all 50 states and 42 countries, PPS staff have found incontestable evidence that public spaces have distinct personalities, just the same as people. In fact, public places consistently demonstrate higher rates of cooperation, efficiency and public benefit than corporations and individuals. And like people, they should have the right to express themselves.

Through our online and in-person engagement and evaluation tools, we have been able to give voice to places. This voice should be able to influence elections and defend itself, just as people and corporations can.

The campaign got its start last summer when PPS President Fred Kent, responding to an audience at the Iowa State Fair, declared. “Places are people too, my friends.”

Fred Kent's fertile imagination has helped him appreciate and "listen to" places as if they were real people. Photo: Oscar Hidalgo for The New York Times

The campaign also advocates the creation of Super PACs (Place Action Committees) to make sure places are well-represented in the public process, without cooperating directly with political campaigns. Some observers predict this effort will lead to a new era of “Place Capitalism,” where the Place is recognized in its role as a means of production and source of resilient wealth.

This legal recognition is further necessitated in light of the fact that automobiles have been getting closer to achieving the same rights as people, and the transportation system that serves these near citizens has been siphoning wealth from Places, perhaps in preparation for this battle.

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Also see other past PPS Faking Places editions that we have produced every year on April 1st – Happy April Fools Day!

Photos: Sittingo.com and Oscar Hidalgo for The New York Times