NCDC Fellow Highlight

NCDC Fellow Highlight

A Reflection by Elizabeth

As my six-month design fellowship comes to a close at the Nashville Civic Design Center, I could not be more grateful for the projects I was able to work on as well as the relationships I made with everyone in the office. I came to NCDC to continue my education in and passion for designing public spaces before heading to graduate school for Landscape Architecture, and my time here exceeded all expectations.

During these six months, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects from TUBRO installations to pet-friendly parklet designs. I was also able to continue my interest in street design and safe pedestrian connectivity through the first part of the University Connections project led by Kayla Anderson, Research Fellow. Through this project, we analyzed key intersections and streets along a connector bus route and envisioned how they could be improved for the benefit of the neighborhoods through thoughtful design. My favorite project during my time, however, was designing a conceptual bridge park in Downtown Nashville. This project allowed me to think creatively about public space and on a larger scale than I normally do. All of the projects I had the chance to work on during my fellowship challenged me to think in different ways which in turn has made me a better designer.


One of my most memorable experiences during my fellowship was assisting with a TURBO installation off of Nolensville Pike. We spent the morning installing two temporary crosswalks and pedestrian refuge zones in a more suburban area. As we were finishing up, we saw pedestrians begin to use the new infrastructure which was a very rewarding experience. So often in urban design, projects just become conceptualized, so it was fulfilling to see a project go from a 2D plan on a computer screen to reality. Through events hosted by NCDC such as Urban Design Forums, PechaKucha Nights, and City Think, I was able to expand my knowledge about topics relating to affordable housing, transit-oriented development, and urban design. Most recently, I was able to attend our City Think event that focused on affordable housing. We had the opportunity to play Kelsey Oesmann’s, Enterprise Rose Fellow, “Game of Rent” that breaks down the stereotypes, jargon, and statistics around affordable housing which in turn fueled meaningful and enlightening conversations. Attending events hosted by NCDC was one of my favorite parts of this experience because it allowed me to learn about more about topics relating to urban design in a fun and interactive way.


Being able to have a part in advancing the initiatives of the Civic Design Center will always be a rewarding time in my career. Through this fellowship, I was able to meet and collaborate with a remarkable group of people who are ensuring the smart progression of Nashville as it continues to grow and evolve. I will always cherish my time here in Nashville, and I can not wait to see how the Civic Design Center’s work continues to impact the future of urban design in Nashville and beyond.

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth, a Chattanooga, TN native, graduated from the College of Charleston in May 2018 where she majored in Historic Preservation and Community Planning with minors in Urban Studies and Art History. She spent time in college working as an intern for the Historic Charleston Foundation and the City of Charleston’s Design Division. It was during these internships that she found a passion for looking for opportunities to improve the interaction between humans and the built environment through design and public engagement. Elizabeth is looking forward to using her experiences as a foundation to work with the community to construct meaningful public spaces in the future. She will be attending graduate school at the University of Georgia in the Fall of 2019 to pursue a masters in Landscape Architecture.