? & CO

American River Parkway

How might we humanize the experience of the American River Parkway in Sacramento, California?


β€œThe real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”
— Marcel Proust

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What is the American River Parkway?


The American River Parkway is the center of all natural beauty in the metropolitan city of Sacramento. It's uniquely crafted path spans from Old Town Sacramento to Folsom Lake, twisting and winding its asphalt limbs along the graceful American River.


Originally named in 1837 by the Mexican Governor of California Juan Bautista Alvarado, natively pronounced as El Rio de Los Americanos.

Named for the multitude of local trappers whom traveled along its shore. The native Californians, the Nisenan Indian tribe once fished those same shores for hundreds of years before being driven off by industrialization and wide spread disease. After nearly a century of metropolitan population growth, a man by the name of John Nolan envisioned the preliminary concepts for the "American River Parkway". Although it wasn't until the late 1930s when the plans were ceased by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted for completion within the next few years. 


With a growing average of 5 million annual visitors the American River Parkway gives locals and visitors the chance to experience our city from a unique angle.

Spanning over an eighty-two acres of government owned and managed landscape, the parkway lets its visitors view nature, spend time with family or catch some fresh dinner. Countless landmarks can also be visited along the path and natural habitats which span its landscape, included among them are Sutter's Fort, Historic Folsom, Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Folsom Lake, California State University - Sacramento as well as multiple other historic locations for tourist to gaze upon.



Research: Understand the problem


Historical topographic maps of the Sacramento region :

(select map for USGS interactive version) 

Collection of gathered secondary research & local news reports:



Interviews: Learn from people


Discussion Guidelines & Interview Questions:


Community outreach for potential interview participants:

 * rendered to preserve anonymity

* rendered to preserve anonymity


Parkway moments captured to aid our immersion discoveries:



Synthesis: Who uses the parkway?



Analysis: Placemaking & Wayfinding



Interviews in progress...
Please check back soon :)


...or check out the original school work that inspired the current project