It is hard to believe, that just in a few weeks, we will mark two years of living with the COVID-19 pandemic.  None of us thought that instead of charging ahead as planned at the conclusion of 2019, we would instead be forced to constantly pause, to reflect and adjust our trajectories. And as much as we all want to be done and move forward, we have learned the benefits of reflection and acknowledgement of what really matters most. 

 

If the needs of the neighborhoods we work within were stark before, they have become even more apparent now, as the pandemic continues to inflict damage to our communities. In what has been another challenging year, we feel that we have come closer than ever to serving our mission and moving our visions into action. Seeds planted in the past came to fruition with exciting student-led projects, creative placemaking interventions and continued public engagement on visionary initiatives. I must say though, that unlike in previous years, the highlight of all these engaging experiences has not been a single project, but rather the transformational realization of what young minds are capable of when given the opportunity. Whether elevating unsung heroes or small businesses, these young minds have redefined for us what belonging to a community means, what it takes to make a difference, and how important it is that – pandemic time or not - we come back together with renewed and unified commitment to support our youth and communities. 

 

I hope you will enjoy the projects we have accomplished this year, but more importantly, that you will stick with us in transforming communities together. 

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39 years serving Central Ohio

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We found new ways to work and bring positive changes throughout Central Ohio.

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Despite the continued stress brought by COVID-19, NDC managed to maintain and expand our commitment to improving the quality of life for Central Ohio communities.

Learn more about our work 
engaging students, empowering communities, and impacting our region. Thanks to our critical partners for their generous support.
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Student Engagement

Our interdisciplinary team of professionals helps mentor the next generation of designers, planners, and creative leaders. This year, we worked with high school and college students to brainstorm community improvements in partnership with local entrepreneurs. These partnerships resulted in a meaningful impact to Columbus neighborhoods that showcase youth involvement and community pride.

 
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Engaging with local youth to create unique placemaking projects along Cleveland Avenue.

We partnered with the Pathways to Progress program to beautify two longstanding Linden businesses. Harnessing the energy and creativity of over 80 local high school students, Beauty All Over and Ena’s Caribbean Kitchen transformed with striking new artwork, more visible signage, and expanded seating opportunities. This collaborative effort spotlights the significant impact small changes can have in creating strong, resilient, and beautiful communities.

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Students Engaged

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Student Interns

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Recognizing unsung leaders while empowering students to turn their ideas into realty.

Columbus is My Neighborhood, a unique public art campaign that leveraged digital kiosks to celebrate 12 residents who tirelessly work to improve their communities. In partnership with the Ohio State University’s Nonprofit Immersion Program, the project reinforces NDC’s commitment to supporting student development, the critical need to amplify individuals within underrepresented communities, and encourage a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

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Disciplines

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Project Partners

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Empowering Communities

Whether shoveling dirt for new trees or reframing how we perceive a neighborhood, we work hand-in-hand with communities to visualize and implement a solution. Our projects put people first, focusing on achievable strategies to improve the quality of life throughout Central Ohio. 

 
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Welcome to the South Side Gateway, where a new piece of art anchors a historic corridor.

Placemaking, like this recent installation on Parsons Avenue, seeks to create public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well-being. This brand-new piece of public art is the culmination of years of community coordination, leading to this striking visual point of pride for the South Side. The piece pays homage to the diverse array of retail attractions along Parsons Avenue and serves as a unique focal point along a busy corridor.

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We asked hundreds of people about the University District with the 'Be Well' survey, a collaborative effort.

Nearly 500 responses to this critical collaborative survey reveal that residents value the University District for its diversity and access to fun activities. Neighbors also consider the area to be progressive and accepting. In partnership with the University District Organization, the University Area Commission, and The Ohio State University, we designed this survey to take the pulse of this eclectic and historic part of Columbus.

Our work centers on communities. We coordinate our efforts with community leaders throughout Central Ohio.
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After a 5-year tree-planting campaign, Weinland Park is cleaner and greener with more than 100 new trees. Learn how and why NDC led this initiative.

Growing the urban tree canopy in Weinland Park
Advancing "Big Ideas" in the Linden Community

Linden residents joined Mayor Andrew Ginther at the Carols on Cleveland to celebrate the holiday season and launch OneLinden.org connecting residents to necessary resources and keeping them engaged as community partners to advance the OneLinden Plan.

Impacting Our Region

While much of our work centers around Columbus’ historic neighborhoods, we also seek opportunities to better connect our city to the region. Through our work this year, we sought forward-thinking solutions to improve the way current and future residents engage in civic activities, access equitable housing, and utilize public space and waterways to connect with nature and each other.

 
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Next Home:2021, a design challenge to discover and build innovative solutions to meet critical housing needs.

The NDC led an inspiring competition for innovative home design solutions to address the housing shortage in Central Ohio. Garnering more than 50 proposals from across the nation, the NextHome2021 challenge re-imagined conventional ideas of housing. Our facilitation and management of this critical process led to a beautiful and practical design solution that is scheduled to be constructed in 2022.

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We engaged communities within Franklin County about the future of parks and open space with the Rapid 5 initiative.

Helping shape the future of central Ohio's natural resources. The RAPID 5 natural resource vision plan is a regional initiative highlighting the many opportunities we have to capitalize on our waterways and other natural assets. Our work to create an interactive online public engagement tool and synthesize community feedback was critical to getting RAPID 5 a running start in 2021.

Amplifying the reach of available information and resources to residents across Central Ohio. 
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Our work with the Area Commissions website for the City of Columbus creates a unified platform for all things 'Area Commissions' by creating equal access to information critical to community development.

Helping citizens connect with the civic process.
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Improving the relationship between renters and landlords.

NDC worked with the City of Columbus to hold the 3rd Annual Landlord Educational Series, an event aimed to strengthen the tenant-landlord community and increase landlord compliance with housing and rental regulations.

We couldn’t do the work we do without the generous support of our partners

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