Through the generous support of Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant and in partnership with Project for Public Spaces, FoCSP hired Dextrous Creative to conduct an evaluation of park use during the summer of 2015. The project sought to assess the impact of placemaking interventions (new amenities and arts programming) largely installed in late June with the launch of the Heart of the Community Grant.
Objectives of the project included gaining a better understanding of the following:
- Who uses Congress Square Park
- When do visitors use the park
- Which interventions were most successful
- How do visitors use the park
- What activities or features are most popular
As stated in our evaluation report, “The diversity of Congress Square Park’s visitors and events are key to its vibrancy and success. Low-cost interventions and amenities installed over the past two summers in the park have turned a forgotten corner within Portland’s Arts District into a thriving and busy gathering and event location. The park’s renewed vitality has fostered new friendships across generations, cultures and sparked dialogue about the nature and importance of public space in the heart of downtown Portland. Further improvements to address deferred maintenance will only enhance user experience in the park and accessibility for individuals with mobility impairments as word spreads of the park’s rebirth.”