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Last Chance to Register for our Chicago training

February 12th, 2014 by NCI · 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!

Comments OffCategories: Trainings/Events

NCI Training registration is now open for Miami, FL

November 19th, 2013 by NCI · 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.

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Why does the Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue project need an 8-day charrette?

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.

Comments OffCategories: Benefits of Charrettes · Charrette Organization and Management · Charrette Project Website

Immerse yourself in an 8-day NCI Charrette in East Lansing, MI

September 6th, 2013 by Bill Lennertz · Comments Off

NCI is leading a multi-disciplinary team for the second Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue Charrette, October 22-30. In conjunction with the charrette, we are holding a pre-charrette seminar on October 22nd. You are also welcome to attend the charrette public meetings and open house.  Click here for the charrette schedule.

A limited number of NCI certificate holders will have the opportunity to 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 please email

Comments OffCategories: Charrette Project Website · News/Press Releases · Upcoming Charrettes

NCI is hiring!

September 4th, 2013 by NCI · Comments Off

National Charrette Institute (NCI) Open Position Summary

Position: NCI Program Coordinator

Reports to: Director of Operations, Executive Director

Type of Position: Part-time, 32hrs/wk

Compensation: Starting at $16/hr, plus vacation, sick and medical benefits


The National Charrette Institute is a small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a broad reach throughout the US and internationally.  For the past 13 years, we have built an international reputation teaching and coaching planning professionals and community leaders in the NCI Charrette System™. We are seeking a Program Coordinator in our office based in Portland, OR.  The position is suited for an energetic, detail-oriented person who is interested in working in a positive, customer service oriented organization.  Good customer service, administrative skills and office experience a must. Some knowledge of, and interest in, urban planning is a strong plus.

This position is of significant importance to the success of NCI as the Program Coordinator is often the first contact that clients, potential clients, members, trainees, and the general public have with our organization. The ability to multitask and be detailed oriented is a must. Interpersonal, organization and data management skills are needed to support the overall organization and training programs. Answering phone and email inquiries, maintaining the contact database, processing sales orders, record keeping, organizing and coordinating training logistics are the primary focus.  The ability to write simple informational and marketing pieces and keen editing skills are required. A variety of administrative tasks such as arranging travel logistics, tracking expenses, volunteer outreach, taking meeting notes, scheduling meetings and managing task lists are inherent to the job.

Essential Job Functions


  • Process course registrations
  • Creation, coordination and shipping of training materials
  • Activity and venue scheduling and logistics, both locally and remotely
  • Communications and follow-ups with course participants, sponsors and clients, both pre- and post training
  • Coordinate volunteers for all NCI trainings and events
  • Coordinate training scholarship process
  • Training announcements
  • Coordination of catering, materials and printing
  • Coordination of CEU reporting and availability (AIA, AICP, ASLA, CNU-a, etc.)
  • Provide support on-site for local trainings, and remotely for in-house/out-of-state trainings
  • Respond to training inquiries

 Product Sales

  • Processing, filling, and shipping CD and book orders
  • Ordering products to have in stock, tracking sale numbers
  • Following up with product inquiries

Outreach and Marketing

  • Coordinate, edit and send out monthly email newsletter, and other announcements such as promotions
  • Processing memberships, sending renewal reminders, following up with donors, sending thank-you notes and follow through with recognition, maintaining database records of donating members
  • Publicity and marketing strategy and implementation for products and trainings as well as general outreach. Assist with website updates and editing
  • Social Media and blog postings
  • Respond to phone and e-mail inquiries from public
  • Assist with creation of hardcopy and digital documents for outreach and distribution


  • Scheduling meetings
  • Document and website editing
  • Travel logistics, airfare, hotels, etc.
  • “Running around” (post office, UPS store, etc.)
  • Typing up flip charts and meeting notes, minute-taking
  • Goal and task tracking
  • General office maintenance and coordination: mail, filing, backing up of computer files, tracking and ordering of supplies, credit card receipts, etc.
  • Data entry
  • Preparing displays, mailings
  • Internal communications


  • Conference tracking, for attendance/potential presentations
  • Follow up with conference session attendees
  • Conference coordination for NCI session or exhibitor booth


  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Professional and courteous phone manner
  • Computer skills: data entry, word processing, internet, spreadsheets, document management
  • Ability to handle multiple assignments and work under deadlines
  • Ability to prioritize work
  • Ability to track specifically delegated tasks as well as larger needs and goals of the organization
  • Willingness to accept direction and work as part of a team as well as independently
  • Willingness to learn new skills and ways to perform tasks
  • Interest in, and understanding of, urban planning a strong plus
  • Some image processing (Photoshop) and layout skills (InDesign, PowerPoint) desired

To Apply:

Please send a cover letter and resume to


Comments OffCategories: News/Press Releases

Michigan/Grand River Ave Charrette Team TV Interview

August 13th, 2013 by NCI · Comments Off

On August 8th Bill Lennertz of the National Charrette Institute and Victor Dover of Dover, Kohl and Partners were in Lansing, MI for a few days and did an interview with Gavin O’Mara on HOM-TV for the second upcoming Michigan/Grand River Ave. Charrette, that will be October 22-30th. Watch the Michigan/Grand River Ave Charrette interview.


Comments OffCategories: Charrette Project Website · News/Press Releases · Upcoming Charrettes · Video

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 NCI · 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 NCI · 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