Tip: How to start a charrette

It may seem basic, but the most important thing to tell a community the first time you meet them is that you haven’t started the design yet.

It may seem basic, but the most important thing to tell a community the first time you meet them is that you haven’t started the design yet. In the first charrette meeting, the message should be that you are there to tell people about the project, and to hear about what is important to them.

Then, allow participants be the experts for the evening by inviting them to tell you about their community. This is best accomplished with some type of small table exercise where people can map their community assets and draw their vision of what the place could look like twenty years in the future after the plan is in place.

Before such an exercise, you should definitely give them some coaching, or “food for thought,” regarding principles of sustainable community planning. Starting a charrette with such a meeting will put you on the right foot with the community and allow you to move forward to create alternative concepts and eventually a preferred plan that is supported by all.


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