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With The Ohio State University celebrating its 150th anniversary, the university community has the opportunity to reflect on accomplishments, traditions, and challenges. As a response to Ohio State’s journey and current environment, the Neighborhood Design Center and OSU Nonprofit Immersion Program commissioned a student-generated public art installation to communicate the student experience of diversity and inclusion on campus. staff, and area residents about Ohio State’s perception and execution of inclusion. Ultimately, the insights drawn from student-led discussions, a representative art selection panel, and the final works will all serve as a catalyst to a bigger conversation; that each and every voice has the right to be heard, frame the term “inclusion,” from their world view, and to open meaningful conversations with a broader group. The artwork will also add aesthetic value and provide a gathering space for current and prospective students, staff, and visitors to the beautiful campus area.
If you visit their offices at 1111 E. Broad Street, you’ll notice a few differences inside the OhioMeansJobs Columbus—Franklin County (OMJ-CFC). The office has been closed to the public since March 2020 due to the pandemic, but that’s allowed time for a design refresh that seeks not only to energize the space, but to ensure safety for patrons upon reopening. The OhioMeansJobs Columbus—Franklin County offices play host to multiple agencies that provide free programs and services for job seekers. These entities operate with the same goal: to develop and advance the workforce to meet current and future needs of the communities they serve. With that in mind, the new interior design concept features an adaptable layout and furnishings that will allow the space to operate under current safety guidelines during the pandemic and expand operations once it is safe enough to do so. Design has a huge impact on how we function and feel within our workspaces, particularly when you consider the upheaval of normalcy brought on by a global pandemic. With pops of color, new finishes and a welcoming design, we hope that patrons and staff alike enjoy the new space!
In partnership with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and students at The Ohio State University, the Neighborhood Design Center led a student seminar to design a bus stop parklet for installation along Sullivant Avenue. COTA riders on Route #6 noticed the makeover in December 2020. During the fall semester Kerry Reeds (Director, Urban Design & Planning) hosted the COTA Parklet seminar. Students developed design and implementation strategies for three COTA bus stops around Columbus to enhance the experience of transit users and beautify the streetscape. Students considered durability of materials selected and capacity to be disassembled, then reassembled at other transit stops in the future.
Working with the owner of Irie Jamerican Cuisine (2384 Sullivant Avenue, at the intersection with Oakley Avenue) the NDC team came together to add 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 EnvisionHilltop plan—helping bring one part of the plan to fruition. The goals of the project were to improve the curb appeal of Irie Jamerican while supporting increased seasonal outdoor seating opportunity. The installation of three cedar picnic tables will allow customers to eat on-site rather than only take-away. Large planters provide a visual and physical buffer between busy Sullivant Avenue and the seating area. The planters were filled with winter-appropriate varieties, like evergreens and winter cabbage. A crumbling retaining wall on the western edge of the property was sanded and painted to match the Jamaican-flag theme of the restaurant.
Supported by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the NDC worked in partnership with the City of Columbus to create the Franklinton Target Area Plan in conjunction with residents and the Franklinton Area Commission. As part of a new state funding opportunity, NDC helped increase awareness of numerous mixed-income housing developments coming to Franklinton by creating a website, hosting a public open house, and attending commission meetings and community events. As a liaison among developers, the city, and neighbors, the NDC listened to resident concerns and included them in the final plan, which contains a myriad of goals to improve the neighborhood’s quality of life. Check out the final plan document today: https://www.scribd.com/document/455265847/Franklinton-Target-Area-Plan
For 18 months, Hilltop residents attended events designed and facilitated by the Neighborhood Design Center to discuss challenges facing the community and determine what interventions would be most beneficial. From informal conversations with residents to an array of meetings, events, and focus groups, the NDC relied on Hilltop neighbors to determine priorities and suggest solutions. The 27 plan recommendations were entirely based on resident feedback and reflect their thoughts and experiences—as well as their desire to improve all aspects of life on the Hilltop. Download the plan at www.envisionhilltop.com
A resident-driven plan that establishes a vision for shared prosperity and growth, the Linden Community Plan is a framework incorporating both physical and social considerations. The NDC worked with neighbors, stakeholders, and institutional partners to create strategies and recommendations as part of a unique partnership led by the City of Columbus and supported by the United Way of Central Ohio and The Ohio State University. The plan presents Ten Big Ideas in an integrated approach that allows the objectives to be multi-faceted. The concepts, which range from immediately actionable to daringly visionary, illustrate ambitious possibilities for the Linden community. Download the plan at www.ourlinden.com
Campus Partners has played a significant role in the revitalization of Weinland Park over the past 10 years. Given the pace of redevelopment migrating north from downtown along the Summit and 4th Street corridors, the NDC was commissioned to prepare a study to help Weinland Park residents understand potential impacts to the neighborhood. Over the course of three months, the NDC met with residents utilizing a combination of mapping, preference exercises, and capacity studies to understand and document their concerns. Their desired outcomes related to land use, scale and intensity of future mixed-use redevelopment were recorded in a comprehensive booklet that included relevant auxiliary data and historical context.
Concentrated redevelopment can make an impact in communities, particularly the central city neighborhoods and historic commercial districts that are part of the City of Columbus Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NCR). Working with property owners in the Hilltop NCR district, the NDC strategized a variety of solutions for the redevelopment of six structures along West Broad Street between Oakley and Wayne Avenues. Design ideas included site development alternatives, conceptual elevations and floor plans, and interior renderings. While these designs may not directly translate to the built environment, they add value to the potential for reinvestment in existing structures and demonstrate possibilities to the community and stakeholders.
When the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation (COCIC) considered converting an 80-acre executive golf course to passive community open space, the NDC was commissioned to assist with initial visioning. Plans illustrate walking paths and native landscape enhancements suitable for use over a closed landfill, while retaining the existing golf academy, driving range, and restaurant.
Through the Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization (NCR) program, NDC offers technical assistance, planning, and design services within seven designated business districts in the City of Columbus. Established in 1983, the NCR Program has helped stimulate and support revitalization of Columbus neighborhoods, improving access to affordable space. With guidance from NDC, business owners can access the Exterior Storefront Renovation Grant—a reimbursable matching grant.
Through the Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization (NCR) program, NDC offers technical assistance and planning and design services within seven designated business districts. Established in 1983, the NCR Program has helped stimulate and support revitalization of Columbus neighborhoods, improving access to affordable space in throughout the city. With guidance from NDC, businesses can access the Interior Renovation Grant—a reimbursable matching grant for retail and commercial spaces—to encourage permanent interior improvements.
The NDC has assisted the University District Organization with several temporary public art and place-making interventions. Colorful and perhaps unexpected, these low to moderate cost installations are intended to bring joy and inspire spontaneity throughout the district for a period of one to three years.
In 2014, the Parsons Avenue Merchants Association (PAMA) enlisted the NDC to assist with a community gateway design to replace a previous South Side monument. In response, the NDC developed creative concepts that imagined a new “Welcome to the South Side” monument. A three-year process of design exploration, refinement, and funding discussions with project stakeholders resulted in a final design consisting of two graceful arching space frames welcoming visitors into the Parsons Avenue corridor. Other site enhancements include donor pavers, decorative lighting, and extensive landscaping.
In a time when we’re all re-evaluating how person-to-person engagement can ever occur again, reliance on contactless engagement methods is growing. Online strategies are a proven medium to get detailed public feedback from a diverse audience. NDC creates custom online options to solicit experiences, ideas, and opinions from residents and stakeholders that can be used to inform planning recommendations and upcoming decisions. From interactive maps to detailed online surveys and newsletter campaigns, we are committed to amplifying the voices of the community through robust digitial engagement solutions.
The NDC supports community and civic organizations by providing creative graphic design solutions. Whether producing event posters, reimagining iconic Columbus landmarks for coloring books, or helping create cohesive community identities with celebratory corridor banners, the NDC finds aesthetic solutions that celebrate the businesses, organizations, and neighborhoods that make Columbus great.
Launched to stimulate the redevelopment of industry corridors in Worthington, the ReCAP program provides access capital for aesthetic improvements. To assist eligible businesses, the NDC helps clients explore creative approaches to high impact design on a range of building types. Improvements have included creating color palettes, entryway elements, site enhancements, and signage. Using an engaging and iterative process, NDC also developed a range of high-impact design strategies that aim for low to moderate cost.
To bolster the restoration of historic housing in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, the Mt. Vernon ReHHUP program provides access to capital for housing improvements. NDC works with homeowners to develop design solutions that balance responsive and stylistic solutions with cost effective materials. Solutions have ranged from the selection of historically appropriate color schemes to the restoration of original architectural details, as well as site enhancements that highlight historical structures.
Access to fresh food is an obstacle faced by many Central Ohio residents. In the Linden neighborhood, a partnership with the City of Columbus improved food access by establishing the Linden Farmer’s Market. In support of the market, the NDC created a brand strategy and visual package to incentivize neighbors to not only seek out healthy food options, but also to support local businesses. Materials were distributed to local businesses, churches and public institutions, while eye-catching postcards helped promote the summer-long event.
The sculpture, “Shake, Rattle and Roll – The Livingston Line” by Cleveland artist Tom Hubbard was installed in July 2018 after a two-year long design and engagement process. The NDC was responsible for managing the competition from initial request launch for qualifications in 2015 through installation and dedication. This management included the selection of advisory panels, coordination of stakeholders, and administration of the winning proposal. This piece represents the second installment of the “Streetcar Sculpture Series” which celebrates the history of Livingston Avenue as one of the original streetcar lines in Columbus.
The Parcels to Places competition was a pilot project managed by the NDC that sought creative ideas and strategies for transforming vacant land in Columbus into community assets. Launched in 2016 and completed in 2018, the NDC invited community organizations, neighbors, and design professionals to submit proposals for innovative approaches to transform blight into neighborhood treasures. From a field of 23 applications, two review sessions by an advisory panel made up of community organizations, city officials, and design professionals selected nine winners. Nearly $175,000 was awarded for project implementation.
The competition for a new pavilion in Italian Village Park was launched in the summer of 2015. The NDC established the request for qualifications, assembled advisory panels, and coordinated with local stakeholders and residents throughout the selection process. “Five Pavilions,” by Tim Lai Architects emerged as the winning proposal and is currently in the design documentation phase.