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NCI Working in the Field: Practicing what we teach

September 10th, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

In addition to our annual public trainings in Portland, OR and Washington, DC, for the first half of 2015 we have been working on a variety of interesting projects and customized trainings. This ongoing project work means that we bring new, constantly evolving,
real-world experience to everything we do. Coupled with our trainers’ over 25 years of accumulated stories from work in the field, our trainings are both fresh and grounded in a deep history of wisdom and success.

  • Forest County Potawatomi Community As part of our ongoing work with the US EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program via a grant to the Project for Public Spaces, NCI collaborated with the Local Government Commission on a mini-charrette for the Forest County Potawatomi Community in Crandon, WI to develop recommendations for a sustainable development action plan for this Native American Tribe.
  • Memphis Fairgrounds An NCI team including Placematters and Equity Consulting Collaborative facilitated live and web-based forums to gather community input in advance of the Urban Land Institute panel on the Fairground reuse project. It was a first for a ULI panel to be preceded by an NCI community outreach process.
  • Saint Mary’s Food Bank NCI is facilitating the application of the NCI Charrette System™ to St. Mary’s Food Bank’s (Phoenix, AZ) strategic action planning process. Operations work teams are crafting action plans using a shared website as well as on-site working meetings. Plans will be merged during a 2-day charrette with management.

Comments OffCategories: Benefits of Charrettes · Trainings/Events · Uncategorized

NCI Customized In-house Trainings

September 10th, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

Did you know that you can use an NCI in-house training to plan your project and build staff capacity for collaboration? We are hearing from more cities, counties, consultants and developers who want to manage their own upcoming charrettes.

In the last two months, NCI delivered customized trainings for the City of Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning, VA, HDR, Inc.’s military facilities planning group in Colorado Springs, CO and a major east coast private developer. All wanted to learn how to participate in and run their own charrettes. Each training was customized by using the organizations’ own upcoming projects as case studies.

Alexandria brought over 30 staff from community planning and economic development into a three-day training focused entirely on one neighborhood planning area. In what amounted to an on-the-job training, staff applied the NCI Charrette System™ assessment and organization tools to create a project process roadmap for the neighborhood charrette.

The private developer was interested in learning about charrettes in-depth in order to be better versed as a participant in public charrettes. Of particular interest for both groups was the advanced public meeting facilitation boot camp building skills through role-playing exercises.

HDR used four upcoming military facility planning projects as case studies to learn the NCI Charrette System tools. They leveraged the opportunity by including some of their military clients in the training.

Please contact us for more information on how NCI can work with your agency or organization to provide on-the-job training for your project.

Comments OffCategories: Benefits of Charrettes · Trainings/Events · Uncategorized

Lessons from Memphis: How to use a vision wall for a fast meeting start

August 3rd, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

The usual way many public meetings start is for people to meander in over the course of ten to twenty minutes, visit the sign-in table, sit down with their smart phones or head off for the food. This can make it a challenge to get people’s attention when you need it and it’s simply not a fun way to start an event.

Instead, here’s an example of a more positive and engaging way to start a public meeting. In a recent set of meetings in Memphis, TN this month, NCI engaged people in the creation of a vision wall beginning the minute they walked in the door. This approach got everyone working and on board with the meeting purpose of creating a project vision.

During the check-in process participants were handed three sticky notes and were directed to the vision wall. There, facilitators instructed people to write down three ideas for the future of the Memphis Fairgrounds. A wall poster with the following examples helped them get started: ample park space, attractive to walkers and cyclists, regional recreational site.

Facilitators instructed people to take their sticky notes to the wall. The first person up placed their three notes in a row. Everyone coming after scanned the wall in search of similar ideas. Similar ideas were placed below, new ideas were placed horizontally to continue the top row. Long columns of similar ideas began to emerge.

Once the public meeting began, the vision wall was closed. The facilitators then worked during the first part of the public meeting to first be sure the columns were correctly ordered by similar ideas. They then quickly wrote up ideas from the longest columns on a flip chart for report out at the end of the meeting.

Comments OffCategories: Public Meetings · Public Participation

RFP for Workshop Consultant for South Phoenix Village

June 2nd, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

Request for Proposals for Design Workshop Consultant for South Phoenix Village
Submission Deadline: Monday, June 22, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. MST

FSL Real Estate Services intends to select a consultant to help plan and facilitate a two-day design workshop and a follow-up presentation to take place in the summer of 2015. The Broadway Heritage Neighborhood Resource Center, at the southeast corner of 24th Street and Broadway Road in Phoenix, has been selected as a venue for the design workshop. The dates of the design workshops will be mutually agreed upon by FSL Real Estate Services, City of Phoenix staff, and the selected consultant.

The attached RFP is requesting a collaborative design workshop (not a full charrette). It does list minimum qualifications that include “formal training in design workshops or charrettes (i.e. through the National Charrette Institute…”

Download the RFP here.

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Tennessee APA Conference Call for Proposals

May 29th, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

The theme of this year’s Tennesseee Chapter of the American Planning Association conference is citizen participation and civic capacity building. If you are int he region is will be a great opportunity to explore this topic throughout the September 30-October 2, 2015 conference in Chattanooga. Submit a session on the TAPA website here.

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How to run your whole project like a charrette

May 21st, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

Some people come to an NCI training wondering if they will ever have the opportunity to use a charrette, but they leave knowing how the NCI Charrette System™ can change the way they work on all of their projects.

Run your whole project the way you run a charrette- faster, better, together. First, at the Project Start-up Intensive your team co-authors a realistic project scope and budget. No more off-target RFP’s. No more outlying team members. Then throughout your project, incorporate feedback loops for all levels of stakeholders, not just at the charrette. Reduce costly rework through just-in-time information sharing.

Recently, Bill Lennertz recorded a short presentation on how to run your whole project like a charrette. It is only 16-minutes long and can be viewed here.

Comments OffCategories: Benefits of Charrettes · Charrette Organization and Management · NCI Publications/Resources · Trainings/Events

Free Webinar: The NCI Charrette System 2015

March 26th, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

The NCI Charrette System 2015
Apr 7, 2015 11:00 AM PDT

Register here today!

Join us for a free hour-long webinar to learn about the latest high tech/high touch version of this collaborative process for innovative design.

Architects and inventors have known for centuries that the most creative way to work is to immerse themselves in a problem for an uninterrupted period of time. The charrette brings specialists and stakeholders together for an uninterrupted period to break through to a creative solution. What normally takes months is accomplished in a fraction of the time.

This webinar will give those who have taken an NCI certificate training an update on our current NCI Charrette System, particularly the use of more high-tech tools but that it will be most useful for those who are new to the NCI Charrette System. It will include an overview of the latest version of the NCI Charrette System, highlighting the most important tools:

  • Project start-up meeting
  • Project budget estimates
  • How to write an RFP using the NCI Charrette System
  • Social media and web based participation tools that fit with the NCI Charrette System

In this webinar we will discuss how the NCI Charrette System can be used to cut project timelines in half, gain broad stakeholder support and develop out-of-the-box creative solutions.

Bill Lennertz, Executive Director, National Charrette Institute
Ken Snyder, CEO, PlaceMatters

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NCI Charrettes: Collaborative Design Thinking

March 10th, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off

For over 40 years, charrette practitioners have been using design thinking to solve the most challenging and complex problems, from community-wide design to net zero energy buildings. Design thinking is the way designers and artists innovate to create elegant solutions. A charrette is the process experienced designers use to tackle complex problems with a large set of disparate stakeholders. Design-based public involvement integrates people into the design process through three short feedback loops over multiple, contiguous days. This is the most effective way for participants to learn about the benefits and trade-offs of design decisions.

Architects have known for centuries that the most creative way to work is to immerse themselves in a problem for an uninterrupted period- often several days. Rather than chipping away at a problem one meeting at a time over a period of weeks, the charrette brings specialists, stakeholders and end-users together for an uninterrupted period of time, allowing them to break through to a creative solution. What normally takes months is accomplished in a fraction of the time.

Over 40 year ago, innovative designers started using the charrette process to bring entire communities into the design thinking process. The Charrette Handbook includes a concise history of the charrette process with descriptions of the following early urban design charrette projects.

Charrette Projects Timeline
Excerpted from The Charrette Handbook

École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
“Charrette” is used to describe the cart on which completed student architectural drawings are placed at the deadline for critique

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services Panel in Louisville, Kentucky

Caudill Rowlett Scott (CRS) Squatters in Blackwell, Oklahoma

W.L. Riddick Community Problem Charrettes

Carnegie Institute of Technology Master’s
of Urban Design Program

Urban Design Associates (UDA) Charrettes in Pontiac, Michigan

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team
(R/UDAT) in Rapid City, South Dakota

Community Based Projects (CBP) Program of the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University student charrette in Indianapolis, Indiana

Interaction, Inc.’s collaborative, multiple-day workshop in San Francisco

Centerbrook Architects and Planners series of “design-a-thons” in Dayton, Ohio

Solar Cities Design Workshop/Charrette at Westerbeke Ranch, Sonoma County, California

Muncie Urban Design Studio’s Muncie Urban Design Charrettes, Muncie, Indiana

University of Washington Department of Architecture student charrette, Seattle

Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company Friday Mountain Charrette in Austin, Texas

Mississippi Renewal Forum, organized by the Congress for the New Urbanism and Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company in Biloxi, Mississippi

Comments OffCategories: Benefits of Charrettes · NCI Publications/Resources

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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