Public Life, Public Space Insights

8 months ago

Public Life, Public Space Insights

In the summer of 2019 we conducted a Public Life Public Space survey observing and interacting with people to learn more about how people interact with Downtown Tigard and what would make them stay longer. The results of the study closely mirrored the ideas in the community collected by the polls and surveys.


People want more variety downtown, including shops that serve everyday needs.

The primary activities downtown are related to commercial uses, especially eating and drinking, as well as waiting for transport and socializing. Beyond that, there is little variation and few people are engaged in cultural or recreational activities such as reading, playing or sports.

There's plenty of public life in downtown, but it's not outside, in the public realm.

People come downtown and spend time. However, when they do, it’s often in private commercial spaces like the Tigard Taphouse, or inside local public destinations like the Tigard Public Library.About half of survey respondents visit downtown daily and an additional third visit weekly. 1 out of 3 surveyed hangout outside in private spaces, and many expressed a desire for more affordable and free activities downtown.

Downtown activity is concentrated around commercial uses–lunch and dinnertime.

The peak activity times downtown are at noon and dinner time. Outside of these peaks, activity dies down quite a bit. With a downtown population made up of people of all ages, there is potential to invite different audiences to spend time beyond peak times, especially older adults such as retired individuals and empty-nesters, with varied public realm offerings.

People gravitate towards downtown locations that offer seating, shade and opportunities to socialize.

It doesn’t take much to bring people outside–comfortable seating, shade, and opportunities for people-watching are all great ways to encourage people to spend time. The most lively places in Downtown Tigard are those that support these basic needs, while the places that aren’t fulfilling these needs correlate with the least popular areas for spending time.

Few kids and teens are spending time downtown.

While some spots invite kids and teens to spend time, like the skate park, their functions are often singular and don’t invite all members of this age group, or their families, to spend time. The low representation of young people directly relates to what people want more of downtown–play spaces for kids. Almost 1 out of 5 people surveyed, more than anything else, want to see more kid-friendly spaces.

When asked what people want in a new downtown public space, they expressed desire for food,play and (free) events ...... but, people also expressed concerns about maintenance and investment.

Survey respondents want the public realm in downtown Tigard to be well-maintained. They expressed concerns about a new public space requiring a lot of maintenance. They worry that the plaza will not stay clean and safe throughout the course of the day, expressing concern that it might invite for less desirable social activities during the late evening hours.


  • Increase in number of people walking downtown
  • Increase in number of people spending time in the downtown public realm
  • More opportunities for everyday activities outside of lunch and dinner activities
  • Maintain reported sense of community and belonging
  • Increase in annual events and event goers downtown
  • Greater variety of stationary activities across downtown — day and night
  • Increase in play and recreational activities downtown all year-round
  • Increase in the presence of kids, teens, and older adults in the public realm
  • Increase in public seating offerings in streets, plazas and parks downtown
  • Continued citizen participation in neighborhood and citywide programs
  • Greater reported sense of satisfaction in public space investment and maintenance downtown

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