12 June 2013

National Charrette Institute and the Consensus Building Institute

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.