There is an exciting trend occurring with charrettes for projects that link public health and community planning. The people working in public health are increasing playing a key role in neighborhood and comprehensive planning by providing important metrics linking the impacts of land and transportation planning decisions to public health.
Last month NCI conducted NCI Charrette System and NCI Charrette Management and Facilitation Certificate trainings for the Rhode Island Department of Health. The pilot project, Healthy Places by Design, is funded by the Center for Disease Control and focuses on infusing town comprehensive plans with policies that support public health. Staff from three RI towns participated in the week-long intensive trainings where they first created detailed plans for stakeholder outreach and base data collection then drafted a project roadmap and detailed charrette schedules ( see complete training agenda). All three charrettes will be conducted before the end of the year.
The goal of the charrettes is to establish a shared community vision as the basis for the comprehensive plans. These charrettes will use hypothetical urban design scenarios to investigate and illustrate the key planning issues for the comprehensive plans. The plans will have special emphasis on planning decisions that effect public health such as healthy food, safe walking and cycling to schools.