June 18th, 2014 by Beth Bambrick · Comments Off
NCI Faculty and Board Member, David Brain, presented a well-received paper on Lean Charrettes at the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) in Buffalo, NY this month. The paper was written for The Project for Lean Urbanism: Making Small Possible and presented within the Lean Urbanism conference track at the CNU.
Over the past decade, even as there has been a growing fascination with the benefits of charrettes as a tool for planning and public engagement, there has been a constant complaint that charrettes are too expensive. This complaint has become more common and more urgent in recent years, with shrinking budgets and tightening competition among firms for a smaller pooler of available work. Lean Urbanism has introduced a new set of concerns about the costs of the process. It is particularly difficult to fit a charrette into the budget of a project when the goal is to make “small possible.” But Lean Urbanism isn’t just about streamlining the planning process. In the simplest terms, it is about reducing the time and resources invested in planning and dedicating them instead to getting things done, in more manageable increments, with less top-down intervention or public investment, creating more opportunities for individual action, with smaller increments of investment. Read More…
Categories: Charrette Preparation · Meeting Facilitation · Plan Implementation
June 3rd, 2014 by Beth Bambrick · Comments Off
NCI wrapped up a successful 5-day charrette in Norman, Oklahoma last week. The charrette charted the vision for the city center of Norman that will lead to a new form based code. NCI led the charrette team that included Opticos, Ferrell Madden and Alta Planning.
Six weeks prior to the charrette, the team interviewed over 60 people in 5 hours. The interviewees were grouped by similar viewpoints, such as downtown business owners, residents and faith-based groups. Without the presence of city staff in the room and the promise that names would not be attributed to comments, people could speak freely among their peers. These interviews provided multiple benefits for the upcoming charrette. The process of listening to people before starting design was the first step in establishing an atmosphere of trust in this contentious political environment. The interviews also provided the charrette team with a quick in-depth knowledge of the people, positions and issues.
In conjunction with the interviews, NCI conducted a public project kick-off meeting. This meeting was a chance for everyone to share his or her viewpoint with the charrette team, again before the start of design. Participants engaged in a series of exercises including photo preferences surveys and input on strong places/weak places. The combination of the interviews and the public meeting succeeded in calming the community’s expectations about the upcoming charrette and gaining their commitment to participate.
For more information on these tools, confidential interviews and public meeting tools are described in the new second edition of The Charrette Handbook and are taught in the NCI Charrette System™ Certificate Trainings.
Public meeting in Norman, OK
April 24th, 2014 by Beth Bambrick · Comments Off
NCI is thrilled to announce the second edition of The Charrette Handbook will be launched at the annual APA conference in Atlanta next week. This is the first update to The Charrette Handbook in seven years. The second edition of The Charrette Handbook is a complete desktop reference for planning and conducting charrettes. The new edition brings this essential reference manual up-to-date with the NCI Charrette System™ training curriculum, including how to leverage social media and conduct charrettes on a budget, and adds examples of how charrettes can be used in public health partnerships.
”The charrette process – as clearly taught in this important book – is the most effective tool, bar none, for reaching consensus around placemaking.”
-Jeff Speck, AICP, author, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time
To celebrate the publishing of our second-edition book, co-author Bill Lennertz will have a book signing on Sunday, April 27th at 12pm at the APA conference in Atlanta. If you are attending the conference, this is a great opportunity to purchase a copy and meet Bill in person. In addition to the book signing, Bill will be presenting a session along with Charles Green, Health Communication Specialist at the CDC: ”The New Charrette Handbook, Health, and Public Planning” Monday, April 28th at 4:00pm.
The Charrette Handbook is now available for pre-order on our website; we will begin delivery May 1.
Need a copy of The Charrette Handbook right away? We have six copies of the first edition available for purchase through our website. Order now and receive free shipping!
Categories: NCI Publications/Resources
April 17th, 2014 by Beth Bambrick · Comments Off
Thinking about conducting a charrette for your next project? Act quickly and register for NCI’s next public training workshops in Washington, D.C. because these trainings are only three weeks away: May 5-9, 2014.
You will learn a systemized process for involving all stakeholders and community members in planning projects during the 3-day NCI Charrette System™ certificate training. In the advanced, 1.5-day NCI Charrette Management and Facilitation™ certificate training, you will acquire the essential tools and techniques required to facilitate challenging public meetings while you manage a fast-paced multiple-day charrette.
Recent RFPs specifically requesting charrette experience reinforce that charrettes are relevant in today’s planning process, because when people experience an authentic NCI charrette, it raises their expectations about public process. If you’ve always wanted to visit the U.S. Capitol, this is a great opportunity to attend the NCI trainings, earn your certificate, and experience the abundant history and culture available in Washington, D.C.
Visit our website today to purchase your seat before the trainings sell out. We’d love to see you there!
“The work that NCI does is a renaissance of thinking in the areas of process and problem-solving. We all need a good dose of inspiration from time to time to keep going. I got mine at the NCI workshop.”
- Patrick McCormick, Urban Design Planner, City of Kelowna, BC
April 10th, 2014 by Beth Bambrick · Comments Off
Last month’s newsletter highlighted how charrettes are becoming an integral part of the public participation process in Michigan. Just this week, NCI received an RFP for another charrette in Washtenaw County, Michigan. For the preparation of a site development, the Office of Community and Economic Development of Washtenaw County states they will be using the NCI Charrette System™ to conduct their charrette process.
Take a closer look at the proposal.
Whether you are a NCI Charrette certificate holder, or just beginning to learn about the NCI Charrette System™, this RFP demonstrates that charrettes are relevant in today’s planning process. The NCI Charrette System™ is increasingly being requested in public design processes; because when people experience an authentic NCI charrette, it raises their expectations about public process. Our next public training workshop where you can earn your NCI Charrette certificates is in Washington, D.C., May 5-9, 2014.
Categories: Benefits of Charrettes · News/Press Releases
March 26th, 2014 by Beth Bambrick · Comments Off
“We wanted to bring charrettes to mid-Michigan as a model for involving the community in planning projects.”
This is typically how Susan Pigg, Director of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC), introduces the Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue Vision Project. For this project, NCI led a design team through two charrettes to complete a detailed vision plan for this 21-mile corridor. The results are contained in the full color Capitol Corridor Report available for download here. NCI and Dover, Kohl & Partners presented the report to a formal meeting of the TCRPC that voted to accept the report on the spot. Now that’s the way to conclude a project!
Charrettes are already taking hold as a way of doing planning in mid-Michigan. The Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue project was not even finished when the Capital Area Transit Agency (CATA) announced that they would use the charrette process for their East Lansing section of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. This charrette, led by Dover, Kohl & Partners begins today through the 23rd of March.
The Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue Vision Project is now a featured case study in the NCI Charrette System™ Certificate training. See details below for our upcoming training in Washington, D.C. May 5-9.
Categories: Benefits of Charrettes · Charrette Project Website · News/Press Releases · Public Participation · Trainings/Events
February 20th, 2014 by Beth Bambrick · Comments Off
Why is NCI located in Portland, Oregon? What it comes down to it, we just love this place. Some of us have been in Portland for over 20 years now and it just keeps getting better. Somehow, the people of Portland have maintained an evolving collective vision for what this place is, and importantly what it is not. Local decision makers and planners have made solid urban placemaking choices over the years and now Portland is recognized as one of the most sustainable, walkable and bikeable U.S. cities.
Here’s a little history. Before there was a NCI, founders Bill Lennertz, Steve Coyle and Aarin Lutzenhiser played a role in the planning of Portland neighborhoods. Among the many project that the firm Lennertz Coyle & Associates (LCA) led, was the APA award winning Hollywood and Sandy Plan charrette. During a 6-day charrette in 1997, which included NCI board member and faculty Marcy McInelly of Urbsworks, the Portland Bureau of Planning and LCA drafted the plan that now guides the resurgence of the Hollywood District as a neighborhood transit center. Three years later, the experience from that any many other charrettes formed the foundation for the development of the first NCI courses.
We welcome you to visit our fair city this March 10 – 14 to gain your NCI Charrette System™ certificates and to see what everyone is talking about when they say that you have to see Portland. We’ll show you a good time! The training is located at the downtown office of CH2M HILL, across the street from a major food cart pod and a couple of blocks from the streetcar line. You can now travel Portland’s East and West sides on the streetcar. See the nearly completed cable stay bridge that will take light rail, streetcar, bikes, buses and pedestrians (no cars!) across the wide Willamette River. Sample the best coffee, beer and eateries regularly featured in the New York Times and Bon Appétit. Then stay for the weekend, do some spring skiing and/or tour the Oregon coast. See training registration details here and let us know if we can help you plan your trip.
February 12th, 2014 by Beth Bambrick · Comments Off
We want to remind you that NCI is facilitating a 3-day NCI Charrette System™ training in downtown Chicago, February 26-28th. There are 4 seats remaining at this training; now is the time to register for the event on our website.
For those of you who live in the Midwest, this is a rare opportunity to attend a NCI training in your own backyard. The NCI Charrette System™ training will provide you with a systemized process for involving all stakeholders and community members in planning projects. At the end of the training, you will receive the NCI Charrette System™ certificate of completion.
We look forward to seeing you there!
November 19th, 2013 by Beth Bambrick · Comments Off
Each January the National Charrette Institute and MRED+U Program invites the public to join its graduate students in learning the ins-and-outs of planning a charrette. The NCI Charrette System™ training is led by the National Charrette Institute will be held at the University of Miami School of Architecture, January 8th-10th, 2014. Please see the registration page for more details.
October 10th, 2013 by NCI · Comments Off
The most important factors to consider when deciding on the length of a charrette are: a) the complexity of local politics, b) time available for the project, c) the available project budget, and d) the project size. The Michigan/Grand River Avenue project calls for the design of three large study areas along a 21-mile corridor containing multiple jurisdictions. The size and number of jurisdictions and organizations that need to be involved contribute to the project’s complexity complex situation. Eight days were required to accommodate two geographically separate public kick-off meetings, open houses, and 14 technical meetings.
A long charrette of 7 or more days can best accommodate all five charrette phases including three reviews that act as stakeholder feedback loops. This schedule also has enough time and flexibility to respond to new and unexpected issues. Diligence in the Research, Engagement, and Charrette Preparation phase will alert the charrette team to political issues, but charrettes have a way of intensifying a situation. Issues can and should surface early on in the charrette so that the team can respond through ad hoc meetings and new design explorations. When issues emerge, it is far better to be on-site for five or six more days so they can be resolved in a timely manner, rather than leaving town for a month. Having been stirred up, the politics can become intractable during such a time gap. For these reasons, the seven-day model is well suited to projects with complex political and design challenges.
Projects that have simpler politics and fewer design challenges are candidates for shorter charrettes.These projects must still go through the five charrette phases and three feedback loops essential to The Charrette System™. For shorter charrettes, this is accomplished by completing the first two phases before the charrette. In this model, a public kick-off meeting is held four to six weeks prior to the charrette, which authorizes the team members to return to their offices and create design alternatives for presentation at the beginning of the event. This variation can be effective in saving costs, primarily in terms of space rentals and equipment and any additional staff costs for the charrette. However, it is a safe choice for only the simplest of planning projects and is definitely not recommended for volatile political environments. There is a danger in starting a charrette with design alternatives based on the results of the public kick-off meeting that some people may not have attended.
Categories: Benefits of Charrettes · Charrette Organization and Management · Charrette Project Website