What are public places? Why does this matter?
Lets start out with the example of my house. My house is not a public place. Anyone who comes in without asking is likely to be shot by me. Yet I can invite people over for tea, or people can ask to come in. This does not mean I have to let them.
My yard is not a public place either. Nor is my driveway, yet I do allow the people next door to use my driveway. But, I could one day decide that I didn't want that anymore. I could tell them to stop, and they would be required to. It's a "private drive".
Lets continue using this as an example. Say there was a smoking ban in place where I live that effected all "Public Places". Does this effect my house? NO! That's a private place. Does this effect my yard or my driveway? Of course not, that would be stupid.
So, lets say I decide to open up a coffee shop in my front yard. I build a nice building and put out signs inviting the public to come in. Does that make it a public place? No. The public are *INVITED* in by me into my private place of business. I expect them to spend money while they are there. If they do not I will show them the door.
Yes, invited. Were you invited to McDonald's? Yes you were. The front door says "Open". They have signs. They pay for adverts. They have invited you into their private place. It just happens to be a general invitation.
I could do the same at home. I could hang a sign on the front door saying "Come on in!". I could go crazy and buy adverts in the paper. But, just because the general public is invited does not make it a public place.
Now that we know what a private place is, what is a public place?
A public place is anywhere you can go without having to be invited first. This would include places such as the sidewalk, the street or even the park. You don't have to ask to go there is no "owner". There are of course limits to this since you can't decide to build a house in the middle of the street.
Public places are rather misleading. They are instead owned by the city or state which in turn is run by the people. So, everyone owns them.
In my perfect world there would be no such thing as public property. Private (toll) roads are be better maintained. Private parks are cleaner.
The only difference this would make is "toll roads" and a contract with the local park of your choice. You would pay for services used instead of the way it is now.