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NCI certificate trainings teach you how to prepare a realistic RFP

March 4th, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

The Complete NCI Training: Core and Advanced Certificates
Portland, OR, March 23 – 27

Writing a charrette request for proposal (RFP) is a challenging task. Many RFPs fail to provide a coordinated realistic scope, schedule and budget. Too often the request is short on the schedule and/or budget required to complete the tasks desired. A good RFP gives consultants enough information to develop an accurate scope and budget.

Challenges often begin when a single individual is charged with writing an RFP “in a vacuum.” NCI proposes that a multi-disciplinary team approach is the best way to write an RFP. To do so, the NCI Charrette System prescribes using a Project Start-up Meeting. This meeting uses assessment and organization tools to gain team agreement on the why, what and how of your project. These agreements lead to the project scope and budget, which become the bones of an RFP.

NCI trainings teach this process and many others that enable you to run a whole project the way you run a charrette- with minimal rework, a multi-disciplinary design, broad stakeholder support, and community building. These strategies assure a collaborative team approach as the first defense against project failure.

NCI certificates tell people that you are one of the few who know how to run a project successfully using the power of the charrette. Register now to visit “the most-moved-to-city,” Portland, Oregon!

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50% off all NCI recorded webinars

March 4th, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

50% off all NCI recorded webinars through March! Use coupon code: WEB50

Did you know that NCI currently has nine recorded webinars you can watch immediately? We partnered on each one with subject experts on topics ranging from charrettes for regional planning to healthcare to on-line participation. All webinars are approximately 90-minutes long and can be watched an unlimited number of times from your web browser. See the full range of webinars on our website and use coupon code WEB50 to save 50% this month!

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Help NCI Change How People Work Together

December 5th, 2014 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 14 years since the National Charrette Institute opened our doors. Since 2001, over 4,000 people have attended a multiple-day NCI training and thousands more have downloaded reports, our free RFP template and presentations from our website. This year we published the second edition of The Charrette Handbook that anyone can pick up to learn the complete NCI Charrette System™ methodology.

NCI is making an impact and we need your support to keep up the momentum. The NCI Charrette Request for Proposal Template is perhaps our most effective tool for changing planning practices and so far has been downloaded over 2,000 times. Now we need your support to create the NCI Charrette RFP Template 2.0 to address high tech tools and add a more detailed narrative and instructions.

Please include NCI in your year-end giving planning. Your donation is tax deductible and can be made easily by check or credit card on our website. As an added benefit, if you donate $100 or more you will receive a discount on our products and webinars offered through our online store.

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Portland Training Discount Extended until this Friday 8/15 

August 13th, 2014 by NCI · Comments Off

Happy summer! NCI staff have been in and out of the office for projects, trainings, and family vacations during the past few weeks. We were happy to return to many training registrations for our fall certificate trainings in our hometown of Portland, OR this October. Registrants hail from across the country and will have the opportunity to come together and learn from NCI experts and each other in these focused, intensive workshops.

In case you have been on vacation too, we are extending the early registration discount of $195 off the regular price until the end of this week. Get away from the daily grind and immerse yourself in the challenging and inspiring world of true collaborative planning and come home with a new perspective. We hope you will join us. Learn more and register today!

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In-House Training Sale

August 5th, 2014 by NCI · Comments Off

Act now and receive a 25% discount on NCI in-house certificate trainings. Become an NCI Trained Organization in addition to all participants receiving their own certificate of completion.  In-house trainings are all about your needs. The course can become an on-the-job training whereby your projects get planned as your staff are being trained.

There are a limited number of training slots available at the discounted price. Commitments must be made by August 31 and trainings must start on or before October 1st, 2014.  Please email Beth Bambrick, Program Coordinator, with your interest and we will follow up with logistic and pricing details.

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Lean Charrettes

June 18th, 2014 by NCI · 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…

Comments OffCategories: Charrette Preparation · Meeting Facilitation · Plan Implementation

Confidential interviews lay the foundation for success in Norman, OK

June 3rd, 2014 by NCI · 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

Comments OffCategories: Charrette Organization and Management · Charrette Preparation · Public Participation · Uncategorized

Announcing The Charrette Handbook, 2nd ed.

April 24th, 2014 by NCI · 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!

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Thinking about conducting a charrette for your next project? Join us in Washington, D.C. this May!

April 17th, 2014 by NCI · 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

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NCI Charrettes Raise Expectations about Public Process

April 10th, 2014 by NCI · 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.

Comments OffCategories: Benefits of Charrettes · News/Press Releases