Community Design Works

The feeling of inspiration that has resulted from NDC’s work is spreading across our neighborhoods like a wildfire. We can never thank you enough for what you have and continue to do through our continued partnership to transform our community.” -Southwest Partnership

Community Design Works blueprint

Through our Community Design Works program, the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) offers pro bono conceptual design assistance to community-initiated projects. NDC adds value to architectural, landscape architectural, and neighborhood planning projects early on by providing conceptual design documents that help convey the community vision to potential funders and partners. To create these documents, we team our passionate staff designers and/or volunteer design professionals with community stakeholders in a participatory process. This merging of community knowledge and technical expertise results in conceptual plans or products that position client organizations to successfully pursue funding and implementation opportunities as they move forward.

With generous funding from Community Development Block Grants, donations, and project sponsors, Community Design Works is available to community organizations and nonprofits in Prince George’s County and in Baltimore City. Community-initiated projects we consider include but are not limited to vacant lot redevelopment; community gardens; neighborhood master, transportation, or greening plans; adaptive building reuse; commercial facade improvements; and new construction visioning.  If you want to improve the built environment where you live, we want to work with you!

NDC Client Partner GuideApplications for design assistance are accepted on a rolling basis. A nominal administrative fee ($250-$1,500) is requested on all accepted projects and is assessed on a sliding scale based on the scope of the project and the applicant organization.

Our Community Design Works process, including project eligibility and the administrative fee, are explained in detail in our Client/Partner Project Guide.  Please review this guide before beginning your application. You can download the application here: CDW Application for Project Assistance.

Because our program focus is conceptual design, NDC and its volunteers do not assist with grant applications, permits, contractors, or physically implementing/constructing a project. Client organizations will need to contract separately with professional design firms if permit or construction documents are required for their project.

Here are some of our highlighted projects from Community Design Works:

Sisson Street Lot

Riverdale Park Winter Pop-Up Farmers Market

Branch Avenue in Bloom Community Garden

West North Avenue Streetscape Conceptual Master Plan


Volunteer on a Community Design Works Project

Community Design Works projects are our most common volunteer opportunities. NDC design volunteers get to tackle real-world problems with down-to-earth design solutions, while learning from community residents who are experts in their own neighborhoods, and from fellow professionals in the design community. To see projects for which we are currently recruiting volunteer design professionals, visit our Get Involved page.

For more information about Community Design Works, or to submit an application, please contact the staff for your area:

Baltimore City

Laura Wheaton, Program Manager
410.777.5644 •

Prince George’s County

Allie O’Neill, Program Manager
301.830.6425 •