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Livingston, CA Community Charrette

July 16th, 2013 by Steve Coyle · Comments Off

The CCNU (, a statewide 501(c)(3) member organization, launched its first, annual pro bono community charrette in Livingston, CA June 22th to 25th, 2013. Each CCNU charrette targets primarily economically disadvantaged communities as defined by the State. The charrette  provides an opportunity for volunteer CNU members to collaborate with community members on the development of conceptual-level plans and form-based codes for downtowns, corridors, and area designs that build economic, environmental, and social health and resilience, and improve adaptability to future conditions.

The NCI charrette process used to develop the plan consists of a design-based, accelerated, collaborative project management system that spans the entire pre-construction period; a proven, flexible, three-step framework that can be customized for almost any project that requires multiple stakeholder involvement.  The first CCNU charrette was held in the City of Livingston, California, hosted by City Manager Jose Ramirez and Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza.

The charrette team accomplished much within about four days. The results included a Downtown Plan and Form-Based Code, Citywide Growth Strategies, and significant economic and market analysis and revitalization recommendations.  The products were compiled in a booklet and delivered digitally after the event. The services and products generated and delivered by the CCNU consultants to the jurisdiction will enable the Livingston community to commence an implementation process and attract funding. Read more and download the 73 page charrette report here.

Stephen Coyle,  AIA, LEED AP
Treasurer, California Chapter
Congress for the New Urbanism (CCNU)

Comments OffCategories: Charrette Organization and Management · Charrette Project Website · News/Press Releases

NCI training registration now open for Vancouver, BC

June 27th, 2013 by Heidi Haberbush · Comments Off

Vancouver offers a beautiful and lively urban setting for our fall west coast trainings. This year, NCI’s trainings are located in the heart of downtown near the waterfront.  We will be close to some of Vancouver’s favorite attractions- Stanley Park, Gastown, Vancouver Harbour, and much more, easily accessible by SkyTrain.
During this week, you will earn the basic and advanced NCI certificates. You will learn how to plan and manage a project from beginning to end, using a charrette as the transformational moment. Included is a half-day intensive in public meeting facilitation skills. This course will feature a combination of Canadian and U.S. case studies.
NCI Charrette System™ Certificate Trainings
    •    October 7-9 — Vancouver, BC
NCI Charrette Management and Facilitation™ Certificate Trainings
    •    October 10-11 — Vancouver, BC

More about these trainings and registration here.

Comments OffCategories: Charrette Organization and Management · Charrette Preparation · News/Press Releases · Trainings/Events

NCI at the Canadian Institute of Planners Annual Conference

June 18th, 2013 by Heidi Haberbush · Comments Off

How to Run a Charrette
July 6, 1-4 PM, Vancouver, BC

This workshop provides an overview of the National Charrette Institute’s NCI Charrette System™ – a three-phase accelerated, collaborative approach. Case studies will be used to show the practical applications of charrettes to a range of project types. A Canadian municipal case study will be highlighted: the municipal official and the lead consultant who managed the charrette process will discuss their perspectives. Click here for conference information.

- Marcy McInelly, AIA, NCI faculty, Urbsworks
- Joseph Reedy, AIA, Urbsworks
- Colette Parsons, MCIP, MBCSLA, CitySpaces Consulting Ltd.

Comments OffCategories: Benefits of Charrettes · Charrette Organization and Management · Charrette Preparation · News/Press Releases · Public Participation · Trainings/Events

National Charrette Institute and the Consensus Building Institute

June 12th, 2013 by Bill Lennertz · Comments Off

The Consensus Building Institute is a leader in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution. Their value of collaboration toward a mutual gain solution syncs with NCI’s inclusive charrette process. NCI and CBI have been trading notes for several years now. CBI lists charrettes as a useful tool in negotiating land disputes. NCI trainings reference the CBI approach to project assessment and process design as a valuable pre-charrette tool. The CBI approach can resolve those tough issues that are better addressed before a charrette; issues that prevent people and groups from meeting in good faith.

Such a case is documented in the NCI blog archive in a story titled, “ When things go wrong, lessons learned the hard way.” The story tracks a charrette for the redesign of a small downtown where citizens arrived entrenched in a “no change” position regarding a two-story maximum building height restriction. Try as they may, the charrette team could not bring a win-win solution to the table. The article reports that, “The citizens wanted a low-rise main street, but the determination of the citizenry to keep the town looking as it had through the lifetime of the eldest citizens was in direct conflict with landholders and current zoning regulations. The charrette could not resolve the fundamental antagonism to any new building.” In this situation, a CBI type of project assessment could have identified this impasse well before the charrette occurred and possibly solved the problem using their mutual gains negotiation approach. Once solved, the charrette could have achieved its goals of a new downtown plan.

You can hear more about this powerful methodology from CBI’s Stacie Nicole Smith at NCI’s annual NCI Charrette System™ training at Harvard, July 17-19. Learn more and register here.

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

NCI Product Sale

May 20th, 2013 by Heidi Haberbush · Comments Off

Get all three NCI charrette planning and management tools for one low price. Valued at $310 when purchased individually, the NCI Charrette Manager’s Binder Insert + The NCI Charrette Planner Forms Kit™ + The NCI Charrette Manager Forms Kit™ are now packaged and on sale for only $99. Start getting charrette-ready today! Learn more…

Comments OffCategories: NCI Publications/Resources · News/Press Releases

NCI Charrette Certificate Training at Harvard

May 20th, 2013 by NCI · Comments Off

Our annual summer training at Harvard is definitely different. You will be one of a diverse group of students working in the unique atmosphere of the Graduate School of Design across from Harvard Yard. Stacie Nicole Smith from the Consensus Building Institute will be joining us again this year. Lunch with us at the Harvard Faculty Club; take in a game at Fenway (Sox v Yankees!) and head to the Cape for the weekend. Another difference, you will receive a Harvard certificate of completion in addition to the NCI certificate.

Learn more and register here.

Comments OffCategories: News/Press Releases · Trainings/Events

CCNU Community Charrette

May 16th, 2013 by Steve Coyle · 2 Comments

The California Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CCNU) will hold its first CCNU Community Charrette June 22 – 25 for the City of Livingston, California.  As an annual, volunteer event for deserving communities, the charrette will provide CNU members an opportunity to collaborate on community plans and form-based codes for specific areas or corridors, for the benefit of the communities.
The Livingston Charrette Team will produce a conceptual downtown plan with complete street and intersection designs and conceptual form-based codes, and downtown economic/market strategies in four days.   Please check for updates on the event through our website

→ 2 CommentsCategories: Charrette Project Website · News/Press Releases · Upcoming Charrettes

Key Learnings from our Michigan Charrette

May 16th, 2013 by NCI · Comments Off

Earlier this month, NCI led a 7-day charrette to create a vision for the 21-mile stretch of Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue from the Lansing Capitol through East Lansing out to rural Webberville, MI. In total, the charrette engaged hundreds of people through public meetings and 14 technical and stakeholder meetings. Several NCI training graduates audited the charrette as part of their continuing charrette education. NCI also used this opportunity to record the participation and design process. Here are few of the highlights:

  • Day One: Public Hands-on Design session. Each table reports out, their drawings are projected on one large screen and their comments are transcribed on another screen so all can see the results.
  • Day Two: “The Frankenplan.” Technical meetings begin while the Dover, Kohl & Partners design team synthesizes the main public comments on one document.
  • Day Three: “Just-in-time” design. The DKP design team is stuck deciding on a street section. The city engineer is contacted and an instant meeting occurs that resolves the issue.
  • Day Three: Getting the kids involved. Design team members head to the Pattengill Middle School to conduct a design session with 5th graders.

Read the day-by-day details behind these and the rest of the charrette days. Check out a PDF of the last day “work-in-progress presentation.”


Comments OffCategories: Charrette Project Website · News/Press Releases · Public Meetings · Public Participation · Stakeholders

Letter from the Director- NCI Update

May 8th, 2013 by Bill Lennertz · Comments Off

Here is an update on a few of NCI’s notable accomplishments in recent months.  We would especially like to thank NCI members for their support in helping us to increase our influence in the world of community planning, which continues to grow.

We continue to provide specialized training and coaching for agencies and organizations that want to be more hands-on with charrettes. We are training and coaching non-profit organizations to conduct charrettes for development sites in New York’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and we recently conducted an in-house training for the District Department of Transportation in DC.

Our work with Michigan State Housing Development Authority continues. NCI trainings have been a regular feature of the State’s placemaking curriculum. This program is part of the governor’s initiative wherein placemaking is a central strategy in an ambitious statewide economic development plan.

We are in the final stages of completing our Charrettes for Transit Oriented Development Guide under our grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This guide will be made available to all local transit agencies and regional planning commissions, and the public at large, later this year.

NCI succeeds through word of mouth recommendations and referrals from our members and the thousands we have trained and coached over the past 12 years.  Even during the recession, people continued to take our courses and call us for assistance. This is because people need to collaborative now more than ever and NCI builds the capacity to do so.

Comments OffCategories: News/Press Releases

Attend a 7-day NCI Charrette in East Lansing

April 22nd, 2013 by NCI · Comments Off

NCI certificate holders, here’s your chance to observe and perhaps assist at a 7-day charrette May 1-7 in East Lansing, Michigan. See the project website for details, NCI is leading the Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue Vision Charrette. All are welcome to attend the Charrette 101 Seminar on May 1st. You are also welcome to attend the public meetings and open house.  Click here for the charrette schedule.  A limited number of NCI grads can shadow at the design studio and participate in “side-bar” discussions about the process. Depending on the need and your experience, you may be able to help in the production phase, coloring, or computer work in the final stretch.

If you are interested in attending or shadowing please email


Comments OffCategories: Communications/PR · NCI Publications/Resources · Upcoming Charrettes