Since the start of her career, Sarah Bongiorno’s professional accomplishments and civic activities have been deeply intertwined. Combining expertise in architecture, design, urban planning and public process facilitation, Sarah is passionate about the design and quality of places, and about empowering others to create better communities for themselves. The following are demonstrated in Sarah’s daily work.
Dedication to cultivating a culture of design appreciation. Sarah has been consistently recognized professionally for her ability to communicate the importance of design and to help clients advance their goals. Her work to cultivate appreciation for design has been a driving force behind her civic activities as well, perhaps most notably through her work as co-founder of Columbus Design Week[s], which she managed in partnership with the Center for Architecture and Design, to create collaborative opportunities for professionals to raise awareness and support the local creative economy.
Commitment to giving communities a voice. Sarah has made major contributions to robust public engagement efforts throughout central Ohio and around the country. These engagement efforts have collectively inspired tens of thousands of people to share their visions for their communities. Equally important, Sarah has used her creativity to design processes that are interactive, engaging and fun to keep people involved and committed to the planning process. Her work to engage communities of all kinds has included the CBUS Ideabook Project and cbus:FOTO a project that invited members of the public to submit photos of “overlooked, wasted, or leftover” places and then reimagine how they could become contributing parts of the urban fabric.
Focus on giving back, especially to youth. As a young adult, Sarah served in the AmeriCorps NCCC where her and her teammates planned and executed community service projects across the southeast united states and has now grown to take on leadership roles here in Columbus. She has taken a proactive, entrepreneurial approach to developing new opportunities to educate and motivate people of all ages, but especially the youth about architecture and design. From tutoring middle school children, to mentoring Girl Scouts, to leading Camp Architecture, a thriving program that serves over 100 children annually, Sarah has given her time generously and proven that she truly is a woman for others.
Sarah’s Key Projects
Sarah’s hard work and talents are highlighted in her recent projects:
- Foward OP, a vision and strategic plan for Overland Park, Kansas;
- Fairgrounds to Future, a vision plan for former Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton, Ohio;
- Campus Planning, for Columbus State Community College;
- ValpoNEXT, vision and strategic plan, for the City of Valparaiso, Indiana;
- Go North Olmsted, master plan for the City of North Olmsted, Ohio; and
- Creative District Plan, for the City of Valparaiso, Indiana.