Explore our projects throughout Central Ohio. Get in touch to ask a question or request a quote.
The Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) worked with Delaware County Planning Commission to engage Village of Ostrander residents as they developed their Comprehensive Land Use Plan over the summer. To better understand community values, priorities, and direction of growth, the community engagement approach included an online survey and collection boxes placed at the public library and a local market. The planning team also distributed approximately 1,500 postcards through EDDM and placed them at local businesses and institutional buildings. Equipped with maps, site visioning, and preference boards, the NDC met residents at the firehouse breakfast and the Farmer’s Market to engage in meaningful discussions.
Placemaking, like improvements to local businesses, seeks to create public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well-being. At local businesses across our city, NDC helps to plan and implement exterior improvements to beautify corridors and encourage human-scale development. In conjunction with the Columbus Department of Development, NDC worked with local businesses to design exterior improvements for their space. NDC even constructed and installed tables, planters, and lighting at several local businesses. These projects promote a sense of place and empower businesses to be anchors of their community.
NDC is a partner of the Nonprofit Immersion Program (NPIP) at The Ohio State University. NPIP fosters NDC’s mission to empower students to pursue passion projects that impact both the university and broader Columbus Community. Columbus is My Neighborhood aims to elevate and acknowledge the unsung heroes of Columbus. This past year, 16 heroes were selected for recognition on Columbus area interactive signs. Learn more about the project by visiting www.cbusismynbhd.org
The 614 Beautiful program, facilitated by the NDC. invited applicants to beautify communities through vibrant, neighborhood-drive solutions that address issues of equity and enable greater connectivity within the neighborhood. The program awarded proposals that activate spaces, create places, and encourage dialogue amongst neighbors, local businesses, and organizations to support the region.
Starting in the fall of 2021, the University District Organization and University Area Commission sought to analyze what was happening in their own backyard. The project team wanted to understand the quality, values, and culture of everyone who interacts with the University District. As one of the most diverse and exciting areas of Columbus, understanding the perspective of its occupants is critical. These organizations tapped NDC to help design and facilitate a public engagement process and survey to take the pulse on the quality of life of the University District. This initiative led to the development of the BeWell Survey & Outreach. From these responses, the BeWell team began to understand the specific aspects contributing to one’s definition of “quality of life” in the University District. The University District offers opportunities to enjoy life in different ways. Its setbacks, identified by respondents, can impact whether or not the experience is viable. It is up to outside groups of influence and community leaders to truly understand these perspectives before moving levers that will continue to affect the residents and visitors of this unique area. Check out the report here: https://issuu.com/cbusndc/docs/22_11-04_bewell_report
NDC partnered with the Pathways to Progress program at The Ohio State University to implement two impactful student led projects along Cleveland Avenue. Mentored by NDC staff, student developed design strategies for Ena’s Caribbean Kitchen and Beauty All Over, and implemented their ideas as the culmination of the 8-week program. Project partners include the City of Columbus, Franklin County Board of Commissioners, i know i can, The Ohio State University and the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio.
NDC conducted extensive community outreach and engagement for the RAPID 5 visioning process. On our online interactive map, we received 3600 total visits and 238 map comments. On the Ideas Wall, we received 322 visits and 65 ideas. There were 650 responses to our survey, which was advertised using web and physical mail strategies. Selected Survey Results: • 60% of respondents most often access parks/open space by car • 62% of respondents say that Central Ohio doesn’t have enough parks/open space • 58% of respondents are very concerned about water quality in rivers and streams • 82% of respondents think that everyone in Central Ohio should be able to access open space/trails in less than 10 minutes NDC encouraged public participation throughout Central Ohio: • Sandwich boards with QR code at 47 locations • Paper surveys at 30 locations in marginalized neighborhoods • Flyer sent to 76 schools, with 2,000 email impressions • 10,000 postcards mailed to historically excluded neighborhoods
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 May 2022, the monument was officially inaugurated by PAMA.
Led by NDC, the Next Home:2021 Design Competition challenged entrants to devise forward-thinking strategies and high-quality design solutions to enable greater housing access to residents of Columbus and Franklin County. Competition partners include the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation, City of Columbus Land Redevelopment Division and with support from American Institute of Architects, Columbus, and the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio. Learn more about the competition by visiting www.nexthome2021.org
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.