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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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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