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Year in Review: 2020

We help communities dream and
shape their visions for a better future.

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Letter from

In the cauldron of difficult times, great thinking and unprecedented work are often forged.


In the 38 years since the NDC’s inception, I am sure there have been some odd years—but none as odd, strange, and challenging as 2020. From small business owners to public meetings with hundreds of residents, we’ve relied on face-to-face interaction to gather community voices for many years.

The pandemic has crushed our idea of normalcy and forced us to shift our focus on redefining our lives at work and at home. Impassioned protests and inspiring demonstrations, on the other hand, have brought the lasting legacy of racism and its enduring impact on our communities into sharp light—in Columbus and nationwide. It’s been a difficult time. And while we’ve all been in this together, we still have much more work to do.

In what seems like an endless period of distancing, we are confident that new, creative solutions will emerge. In the cauldron of difficult times, great thinking and unprecedented work are often forged. However, what has become more imperative than ever is that we must work together on problems that have plagued our communities for far longer than the pandemic. At the Neighborhood Design Center we remain committed to serving our mission and our neighborhoods.


In partnership with you, we can drive impactful solutions to these persistent problems. We wish you the best in navigating these challenging times and most importantly, we hope to see your smiles face-to-face in a restored new normal in the near future.

With Strength and Optimism,

Isabela Gould


We continued empowering students.

We helped OSU students create beautiful murals.

"These choices attempt to fit into being Native, which requires a lot of self-reflection. I try to inject being Native into my art in order to deny the inherent systems of colonialism saying what art should be."

Arvcúken Noquisi

Artist: Anne Knellinger


Artist: Mia Miller


Artist: Arvcúken Noquisi

We hosted a seminar for students in the Knowlton School in partnership with COTA.


We supported students working to improve the health of the Olentangy River.


Landscape Architecture students helped facilitate public outreach through farmers' markets, create public installations, and host fundraisers to raise awareness about the Olentangy River Vision Plan.

Friends of the Lower Olentangy (FLOW)
Franklin County Soil & Water

We worked with 10 amazing interns.


interns from the Nonprofit Immersion Program


architecture interns


planning and landscape architecture interns



Malena Grigoli


Oscar Camacho-Cabrera
Landscape Architecture


Samantha Lehr
City & Regional Planning


We completed responsive and relevant projects.

We issued a survey and report on the
impact of COVID in outdoor public space.

The built environment of cities allows for serendipitous meetings and chance encounters that suburban and rural life cannot match. But with the novel coronavirus working its way across the globe, the very nature of urban life has emerged as a topic of discussion. 

We conducted a small business survey on COVID-19.

In the spring of 2020, we asked small business owners 17 questions about the impacts of COVID-19 on their revenue and operations. Check out the results!

We helped re-design office space for adaptive use.

NDC worked with the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio to update the office space of Ohio Means Jobs Franklin County during COVID. We refreshed the style with a bright yet calming color palette and designed space more in line with social distancing measures—with flexible options to expand when things go back to normal!
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We worked with communities to create plans and make changes in their neighborhoods.

We transformed a small business on the Hilltop.

Working with Irie Jamerican Cuisine on Sullivant Avenue, NDC added picnic tables, planters, and a fresh coat of paint to a retaining wall. The initiative was supported by funding from the City of Columbus, targeted toward the Hilltop neighborhood as an extension of NDC’s work on the Envision Hilltop plan—helping bring one part of the plan to fruition.

We released the Envision Hilltop plan.