A Year of New: Part 2

A continuation NCI's 2019 year in review focusing on NCI's accomplishments in service and research.

Group work during a recent NCI-facilitated charrette in Novi, Mich.
Group work during a recent NCI-facilitated charrette in Novi, Mich.

Last month, I began reviewing 2019 through the lens of "new" (along with tried, tested and true) and was only able to report on our training activities. Now I will pick up where I left off and continue to explore what NCI was able to accomplish in the areas of service (conducting charrettes) and research

We've known for decades that charrettes work well for design solutions to built environment problems. NCI is now experimenting with adapting the charrette process to address other types of issues.

Sometimes it is a matter of adapting the product, sometimes it's a matter of adapting the process, and sometimes it is both. In all these adaptations, what doesn't change are the principles of the charrette methodology (time compression, creativity, active engagement, collaboration) as the foundation.

Last year, NCI assisted the Michigan 4-H Foundation and the MSU Extension Tollgate Farm and Education Center in developing strategic plans using charrette-like approaches. We also worked with Cook Ross, a consulting firm, to adapt the charrette process for the development of a diversity and inclusion strategic plan.

Last February, NCI collaborated with the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction (SPDC) and MSU Extension to blend a charrette with applied research around crime prevention.

The Designing Safe Neighborhoods project brought together residents, stakeholders and decision makers over the course of three days to learn about and co-create crime prevention and placemaking strategies for the Pleasant View neighborhood located in the Southwest of Lansing, Mich.

This project was so unique and successful that it has become a model that we are now using statewide. The NCI continues to work with SPDC Assistant Professor Linda Nubani and MSU Extension Educator Harmony Gmazel in other communities to design strategies for both reducing crime and enhancing placemaking.

This process also garnered national interest at the American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting in November 2019. Linda Nubani presented during a session on "Fighting Crime using the Superheroes of CPTED, Placemaking, and Charrettes through Community-Based Research."

Another exciting adaptation is using charrettes to solve wildlife management issues. We are partnering with MSU Extension and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to co-create an education and outreach plan around chronic wasting disease in deer.

As new audiences are exposed to the NCI charrette methodology, new applications emerge. Many practitioners from all backgrounds reached out to me last year and expressed an interest in adapting the charrette process in new ways.

This is very exciting and I look forward to all the new adventures, along with tried, tested and true, which await us in 2020.

Holly Madill, NCI Director

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