the Neighborhood Design Center


NDC-designed publications, action guides, and recommended reading to help YOU make the neighborhood yours.

Ideas + Insights

NDC Publications

Are you wondering what to do in Baltimore City? Here are our team's favorite hidden gems, with a community focus.

Baltimore Hidden Gems

Looking for new spots to explore in Baltimore City? Here are our team’s favorite hidden gems, with a community focus. Check out the whole map (and feel free to print it out)!

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Made You Look — Art in the Right of Way Toolkit

ROW Art projects help calm traffic, beautify our neighborhoods, and increase public space for pedestrians. These interventions are affordable, easy to get permits for, and quick to install. Any community can create one! Our toolkit explains the process for Baltimore City. The Made You Look initiative started as a collaboration between MICA Center for Social Design and the Maryland Highway Safety Office, and is now stewarded by the Neighborhood Design Center.

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The Design For Distancing Ideas Guidebook

At the onset of COVID-19, the Neighborhood Design Center turned to designers to seek out proposals for helping businesses reopen safely, asking: How might we quickly activate public spaces to support safe, physically distant gathering and the reopening of local businesses? The Ideas Guidebook (2020) features specs from ten designs that transform public space into safe solutions. The guide includes building resources, health guidelines, and more. See the Design For Distancing website here and NDC case study here.

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Signal Station North Lighting Guidebook

After two years of community listening, analysis, and design, we compiled our findings and recommendations for bringing creative, collaborative light to Station North — and beyond! This Guidebook (2021) contains practical tools, a critical history, and inspiration for neighborhood light projects. Learn more here.

AIA National Guide on the Architect’s Role in Creating Equitable Communities

This guide makes designers more aware of who will inhabit a space, the neighborhood in which it exists, and the surrounding environment to more sensitively drive equity in their practices. Launched in 2022 by AIA National’s New Urban Agenda Task Force, it was led by NDC and our partner Gensler, guided by an expert steering committee, informed by the experiences of our focus group stakeholders, and shepherded by staff across AIA.

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The Blueprint

The Blueprint (2018) is a roadmap of the NDC process for meaningful community engagement. It includes a collection of practices and principles to illustrate our approach to collaborative community design.

Reclaiming Public Spaces: The case for the built environment as a restorative tool in neighborhoods with high levels of community violence

Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Community Psychology, this research article (2021) investigates the profound impact that green spaces, playgrounds, and other community-level interventions have on our health.

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Annual Reports

An inspiring look at what we accomplished in the past few years.

Action Guides

Reading on Place-Based and Built-Environment Based Racial Oppression

Redlining and Investment Deprivation

Segregation, Gentrification and Policing

Anti-Racism Resources

For more helpful guides, subscribe to our NDC Newsletter. We share the latest resources to transform YOUR community.