Park Design Analysis

Does the original final design of a park yield the results that the survey and the original plans intended?

After searching the website, reaching out to Capitol Riverfront, and ultimately not hearing back for, the plans of the Yards Park were not able to be located for this study. Therefore, a conclusion about how park plans translate into park design isn’t able to made. However, the final park design and the results of the surveys conclude that park usage reflects the intended purposes. This conclusion is based on surveys conducted, and general observations of park users reflected in the data. The Yards Park incorporates modern and contemporary park design which complements the evolving design of Washington, DC. The Yards Park design is a mix of green space, water features, and commercial space. The “sculptural bridge” is the most notable design/feature in the park, which park users use frequently for moving around, or a picture opportunity. The Terrace Lawn Steps, and the Garden, and a boardwalk along with benches/seating are all used for its intended purpose. The Canal Basin is the biggest attraction in the Yards Park and consists of mostly young park users, and their families using the space.

The Yards Park design features are unsuccessful in some ways. Upon arrival to the Yards Park, many users are stationed at one specific space and rarely move into another part of the park. This is not true for mobile park users that are biking, skating, jogging etc. The park is designed to provide park users with various options to enjoy their time at the park, and usually, the activity is limited to just one. The “Dog Park” is an example of a space of the Yards Park which is not being used by park users for its intended purpose. It is designed to the far right of the location, closer to the parking lot. It is not visible and many park users are unaware of this feature. This is largely due to the large number of park users who shift more towards the waterfront view and rarely migrate to the other side.

The park users came to the Yards Park for various reasons which included biking, jogging, relaxing/enjoying the weather, eating, and water activities.The Yards Park design is especially suited to complement the commercial activity surrounding the park. There were many park users who came to the park after visiting one of the local restaurants. In the park survey, when park users were asked: “In what way would you improve the park?” The main answers were accessibility to a bathroom and a water fountain. Although the Yards Park is a privately owned public park, it is clear that the final design of the park doesn’t include restrooms or drinking water facilities for strategic purposes. The parks are designed, and to operated to prevent users of the park from staying past unintended hours. The Yards Park is trying to avoid the homeless or lingering park users.

Overall, the park usage of the park reflects the intended purposes of the park design. There are no features of the park which aren’t being used for its specific purpose. The Yards Parks provides a successful example of the way parks can be designed to shape the human response.

Park User Analysis

How do parks plans translate into actual park design and how does park design translate into park use?


In the 92 Park users, who were surveyed and those that denied interviews, women made up 53.3% of park users, and men made up 46.7%. The reasons for coming to the park were various amongst genders, and there was no specific park activity which reflected gender. According to 2015, US Census Bureau, women consists of 52.6% of the DC population, men consist of 47.4%. Given this data, it can be concluded that gender landscape of The Yards Park, is almost evenly split amongst genders and reflective of the overall DC population. In the Yards Park, there was no sign of gender separation as the activities that men came to do in the park were no different than the activities of the women.


In the 92 Users that were surveyed in the Yards Park, there were 65 White, 20 Blacks, 4 Latino, and 3 Asian. Per the data, there were 70.7% white users in the park during the times we conducted surveys. There is an overwhelming majority of white users in the Yards Park.In analyzing the findings, it is first obvious that there is an overwhelming majority of white users in the Yards Park at approximately 70.7%. This is followed by 21.7% blacks, 4.3% Asians, 3.3% Latino. First, in answering the question; What is the racial landscape of the Yards Park? It is clear that majority white users go to the Yards Park, given the results of the observational study. Next, in further understanding the racial landscape, it is important to first understand the changing racial setting of Washington, DC. According to the US Census Bureau in 2015, whites made up 44% of the DC population, and blacks made up 48%. The black population in Washington DC seems to be decreasing, whilst other minority groups slightly increased. The percentage of whites in DC increased from 38.5 % in 2010 to 44% in 2015. The white population is steadily growing in the area. [1]

In summary, the racial demographics of the park accurately reflect the growing white population in DC. As the white population in DC thrives, there is a declining black population which is shifting Washington, DC from a once a majority African American city with historical and cultural significance, into a majority white with growing residential, commercial and political interest.


There are 65 responders out of the 92 that answered their choice of transportation to Yards Park. Out of the 65 responders, 41.5% of the users walked to the park, 46.2% arrived by car, 7.7% used other (Metro, Uber etc.), and 4.6% used a bike.There are majority users of the Yards Park, arrived by car. According to the Washington website, DC’s Transportation has “logically laid-out streets and easy-to-use public transportation systems, you can explore DC stress-free.” They also advertise DC, as having every kind of transportation available including Metrorail & Metrobus, Taxis, rental cars & parking, DC Circulation, biking near the Yards Park there is a Metro stop within walking distance of the Park. Given the high number of park users that used cars to travel to the Park (46.2%), one can assume that many of the park users are not from the area. The 41.5% of residents who walked to the park live in within walking distance of the park. The residents who live walking distance of the park, are also more likely to visit the park more often.According to the Bicycle Facility Evaluation, Washington, DC is emerging as one of the biggest cities for bicycling. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has adapted bicycling within the overall transportation plan and has pursued proper bicycling amenities needed to encourage biking throughout the city to residents. Capital Bikeshare has over 350 stations across DC, Virginia, and Maryland. ( As Washington, DC transitions into a more bike-friendly city, the Yards Park users do not reflect this transition. Overall, the Yards Park is located in a busy area which experiences high levels of congestion throughout the day. Parks users of the Yards Park that live within the proximity of the park usually walk, bike, take the Metro, or Uber.