The Community Design Center organizes collaborative interdisciplinary community/university partnerships for the research and design of physical improvements which serve the University’s urban area. The Community Design Center is a part of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati. The Center provides assistance to community groups, non-profit organizations, and City departments that are representing under-served areas and underfunded projects within the area.

The Community Design Center is administered by a registered Architect with assistance from co-op students and graduate assistants from the disciplines of Architecture, Planning, Graphic Design, and Industrial Design. Faculty from these schools are involved as advisors and designers on individual projects.

The Niehoff Urban Studio is a unique interdisciplinary academic initiative undertaken to address urban issues that challenge the quality of life in Cincinnati. The studio endeavors to engage the community in an urban problem solving effort. The studio is located on Short Vine in Corryville and includes classroom, meeting, and exhibit areas. Since its inception in 2002 more than 800 students in urban planning, engineering,  architecture, design, anthropology, business, nursing, political science, urban geography and others have participated and partnered with more than 100 community based organizations on projects intended to make Cincinnati more sustainable. The Niehoff Studio is administered by the Community Design Center.

See our annual reports: 2013 Annual Report, 2012 Annual Report, and 2011 Annual Report.

News and Upcoming Events

Living Tiny Event - Friday, September 19, 2014

Please join the Niehoff Urban Studio on September 19th for an event in a partnership with DPMT7, PAR-Projects, UrbanCincy , and other artists. We will be hosting an exhibition and panel discussion on small footprint living and deployable/mobile design and its potential application in the urban context. Read UrbanCincy's article here.

- Dan Elkin
- Jonathan Sears - ParProjects
- Cody Ossenbeck (tentative)

- John Yung - UrbanCincy
- Leah Hollstein - DAAP
- Joe Hedges
- Brad Cooper

Autumn Equinox with nourish cincinnati - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Experience food as art + discover recipes.Celebrate the Equinox with Modern Makers + nourish cincinnati. Enjoy a 100% plant-based menu in a 5 couse tasting. Serving deliciously healthy food in a loving way. Proceeds benefit nourish cincinnati.

Tickets:  $25/adult     $15/student + seniors



The Niehoff Studio recognized for education innovation

UC's Niehoff Urban Studio was cited as a best practice in Santa Ono's recent chapter of the "Presidential Perspectives: Inspirational Leadership" entitled "COOP 2.0." Read more.

Lessons from a Groundbreaking Interdisciplinary Design Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati

The recognized planning website Planetizen dedicated an article on the University of Cincinnati's Niehoff Urban Studio for bridging the gap between UC and the neighborhoods around it, involving students from different fields and community stakeholders. Read more.


Recent Events and Projects

Rothenberg Academy in OTR Rooftop Teaching Garden

The Rothenberg Academy rooftop teaching garden is finally under construction and will be opening soon! Read more

The garden, for students, combines two ongoing interests of the CDC, the OTR neighborhood and food based community development. Stemming from the vision of Pope Colman, board-member of the the Over-the-Rhine (OTR) Foundation, the Community Design Center (CDC) collaborated with Pope and the OTR Foundation to make the rooftop teaching garden vision into a reality. In the summer of 2013 the CDC provided technical services and renderings to make this project a reality and the project was constructed in the summer of 2014.

Niehoff Urban Studio Spring Open House, April 17th 2014

On Thursday April 17th the Niehoff Urban Studio hosted an open house to showcase the spring semester student work on the proposed Wasson Way bicycle trail and light rail corridor. This Capstone Studio, a continuation of fall semester research and the Wasson Way Community Planning Workshop in October, promoted interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange among urban planning, civil engineering, real estate, urban studies, and urban geography students and faculty. A panel discussion moderated by UrbanCincy was conducted with representatives from City departments, Queen City Bike, and the Rails to Trails Conservancy. See UrbanCincy coverage and video. In addition to the primary studio, associated courses included a seminar on Landscape Infrastructure in the East End Neighborhood and Masters of Community Planning Capstone Projects in Transportation were also exhibited.

West Fork Creek - Design Workshop, March 8th Chase Elementary

The Niehoff Urban Studio partnered with Northside Community Council, Groundwork Cincinnati/ Mill Creek to facilitate a workshop and discuss the community's long-term vision for the West Fork Creek corridor. The workshop included a briefing on existing conditions and brainstorming on future improvements.

TAKE A SEAT! Film Screening of People's Park Friday, February 21st

The Niehoff Urban Studio partners with Modern Makers for this educational event on Friday, February 21st. The event included a screening of People's Park: a single-shot film by Libbie D.Cohn & J.P. Sniadecki, kids activities included building a group model of an ideal public space and a discussion on Public Space/ Art in Cincinnati and abroad. peoplesparklm.com

Metrofitting Workshop with Tony Fry - February 7-8th

DAAP and the Niehoff studio hosted the two day Metrofitting Workshop led by Tony Fry. Fry a visiting scholar is head of the Design Futures Department at Griffith University in Queensland Australia. The workshop was developed in response to a challenge by Fry from his lecture at DAAP during the fall 2013 semester. The challenge was to put the desire for resiliency planning into tangible action. The workshop gathered city officials as well as faculty and planners from UC to map risks the city faces from climate change and discuss how the City of Cincinnati can reach toward a more resilient future

Second Annual Vacant Lots: Occupied Workshop January 17th-19th

The Niehoff Urban Studio and The Community Design Center are hosting the second annual Vacant Lots: Occupied workshop. The workshop is organized through University of Cincinnati, DAAP Horticulture Program, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, City of Cincinnati Department of Community Development, and Building Value. The program challenges students and community representatives to think about long term solutions to vacancy in the City of Cincinnati. The complete work of the Vacant Lots: Occupied efforts is available online at vacantlotsoccupied.com.

AIA Vision Lecture Series: "Citizen Architect Roundtable Discussion: Advocacy"

The Niehoff Urban Studio hosted the AIA Vision Lecture Series on January 16, 2014. The lecture was followed by a round table discussion on how Architects can engage with and help guide the local political discussions that affect our everyday activities.

Roundtable panelists will include:
– Eric Kearney, Ohio Senate Minority Leader, District 9
– Denise Driehaus, Ohio Representative, District 31, Economic Development
– Charles Winburn, Cincinnati City Council, Budget and Finance Committee Chair
– Wendell Young, Cincinnati City Council

Niehoff Urban Studio Fall Semester Open house December 6th 2013

The fall open house brought the Niehoff Studio students and community stakeholders together to celebrate the accomplishments of the busy but productive semester. Three courses were held at the Niehoff Urban Studio in the fall 2013 semester. The courses included a Master of City Planning plan making workshop that focused on the Fairmont Neighborhoods in Cincinnati, a freshman seminar examined urban innovation, and a civil engineering capstone researched opportunities for the Wasson Way project. Additionally, independent study students working with the Community Design Center helped facilitate the community design workshop and organize the corresponding work for Wasson Way.

Wasson Way Community Reveal Party and Design Workshop October 12-18th 2013

The Wasson Way corridor is a proposed 6.5 mile bike and light rail connection beginning at the Little Miami Bike Trail and stretching west to Xavier University. The CDC first became involved in the Wasson Way corridor planning process through the spring 2013 Niehoff Studio "Movement in the City" that worked with the Wasson Way Organization (WWO).

In October the CDC continued this partnership and joined with AIA to lead a Community Design Workshop for Wasson Way. In addition to AIA and the WWO, the workshop partners included volunteers from APA and ASLA. After community participation at the Workshop, professional volunteers continued to work with the CDC's student staff to develop the designs presented at the Wasson Way community reveal party on October 18th. Click here to see the web view of the posters presented at the reveal party or download full size posters.

Click here for more information on Wasson Way

The Niehoff Urban Studio's first fundraising event on October 1st was a great success.

On October 1st The Niehoff Urban Studio held its first fund raiser event to honor the accomplishments and vision of Bill Butler, who has proved himself as an urban visionary and city builder. Over 130 guests, including UC President Santa Ono, enjoyed the evening at the studio on Short Vine. All proceeds of the fund raiser benefit student assistantships and programing. We are grateful for all contributions and continued support from the community. For additional contributions, click here.

Artbeat on Short Vine - First Friday of Every Month

The Niehoff Urban Studio will be opening its gallery space along with other businesses and pop-up galleries on Short Vine as a part of the Artbeat on Short Vine. Artbeat will be hosted on the first Friday of every month and is organized by the Short Vine Business Associations. The first exhibit, in September, featured the photography of artist Garry Glenn and sculpture of DAAP student Mackinley Motzer. Check back throughout the fall as the Niehoff Studio will be featuring both local artists and urban design work from the Niehoff Urban Studio courses.

Healthy Corner Stores - Cincinnati

The Healthy Corner Store program is a partnership between The CDC and the Center for Closing the Health Gap, a non-profit based in Avondale. The CDC is providing technical services to help meet the goals of bolstering the capacity of existing corner stores to provide more healthy food, specifically fresh produce. Parallel to the architectural updates to the corner stores, the program also promotes the advantages of healthy eating to neighborhood residents. Throughout the multi-year project, the CDC will continue to provide documentation of existing corner store conditions, research of best practices for healthy corner stores, as well as design and programming proposals for making these stores more functional and effective in providing healthy eating options. The program plans to include more than a dozen stores over a three year period with capital financing provided by the City of Cincinnati Fresh Food Financing Initiative.

East End Area Study: Community Based Urban Design

The Community Design Center collaborated with LISC and the East End Area council in addition to local stake holders to develop an urban design concept for an area in the East End. The efforts build from previously completed analysis and responds directly to the East End Area Council’s vision for developing a business district along Riverside Dr. The Community Design Center, aims to synthesize previous findings, and give physical form to the East End Area Council’s vision through the development of The East End Area Study.



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Recent Press

  • July 9, 2014    Old-time shopkeepers corner market on loyalty Read More
  • November, 2012    Good Ideas for Cities - The Toolkit Read More
  • May 19, 2014    The State of Local Food Report Read More
  • May 8, 2014    Lessons from Niehoff Urban Studio at the University of Cincinnati Read More
  • May 7, 2014    UC Students and Transportation Experts Pitch Their Ideas for the Wasson Corridor Read More
  • February 22, 2014    Seeds of success starting to grow in the East End Read More
  • October 30, 2013    City council candidates debate on issues of urbanism at the Niehoff Urban Studio Read More
  • October, 2013    CDC Student is featured for his work with the East End Neighborhood Read More
  • September 25, 2013   Hyde Park residents can weigh in on trail design Read More
  • September 23, 2013   Wasson Way Trail could be hub of activities and economic growth Read More
  • March 12, 2013    River access means money for West Side, NKY Read More

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    Contact the CDC

    Community Design Center
    University of Cincinnati
    PO Box 210016
    Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016
    tel. 513.556.3282
    fax. 513.556.3283
    email. frank.russell@uc.edu
    Off Campus Location

    UC Community Design Center
    UC Niehoff Urban Studio
    The Turner Center
    2728 (Short) Vine Street
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45219


    © 2011 University of Cincinnati