Year in Review: 2020

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


Letter from

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.


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 a space more in line with social distancing measures—with flexible options to expand when things go back to normal!

We worked with communities to create plans and make change 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.

We created the Franklinton Target Area Plan.

With funding from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, NDC worked in partnership with the City of Columbus Housing Division to create the Franklinton Target Area Plan, published in April 2020.

Our first-ever social media campaign
made thousands of impressions.

We recorded two podcasts.

We continued our commitment to neighborhoods.


site plans completed


concept designs


urban design or
planning projects


graphic design projects


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Our 2020 Partners

Knowlton School

  • Architecture

  • Landscape Architecture

  • City & Regional Planning

Nonprofit Immersion Program

Department of Neighborhoods

Department of Development

Land Redevelopment Office

Department of Public Service

Our Neighborhood Partners

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