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Director Park: Observing Portland's People Plaza

By Andrew Louw, MLA/MCRP Candidate, University of Oregon

Formerly a parking lot, Simon and Helen Director Park is now a bustling urban plaza. Built over a six-level underground parking garage two blocks from the iconic Pioneer Square, the park hosts a range of amenities and activities and has become a popular destination for residents and visitors alike. In keeping with Portland’s reputation for innovative stormwater solutions, the OLIN-designed park keeps over 990,000 gallons of runoff per year from the city’s sewer system.

The forthcoming Landscape Performance Series Case Study Brief, developed by our University of Oregon research team, also draws attention to Director Park’s outstanding social benefits. Between 2010 and 2012, the actively programmed space hosted 228 events which attracted over 73,000 people. Designed to accommodate use throughout the year, Director Park attracts an average of 1495 people per day during summer months and 376 per day during Portland’s cool, wet winters.

Our research team’s time lapse video was shot on Thursday, July 18, 2013 and captures three time periods: morning setup (8:30 - 11:30am), lunch time (noon to 2pm), and evening (5pm to 8pm). The time lapse is a compilation of over 1700 still images shot every ten seconds from a six-level parking garage adjacent to the Park. Between noon and 2pm alone, the time lapse recorded over 550 different users.

Research Assistant Andrew Louw is participating in LAF’s 2013 Case Study Investigation (CSI) program along with faculty Research Fellow Roxi Thoren. They are working to document the performance benefits of three diverse projects in Portland, Oregon and Long Island New York.

  1. Randy GoldenAug 15th, 2013 6:16pm
    Randy Golden said:

    Portland always seems to be a the forefront of planning for sustainability. The moves that they made to improve their infrastructure have also made it one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country:

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