What is a Charrette?

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You may have seen us use this term and wondered, what is a Charrette and how do we utilize it?

A Charrette is a public participation system that planning and design professionals can use. It’s a way for us to involve stakeholders at every level in a collaborative design process. Our source and accreditation for this system is backed by Michigan State University’s National Charrette Institute.

Our firm will commonly utilize a Charrette when community input is required early in the design process. This typically includes forming the scope for a bond issue, working with a community organization, or when the project leaders feel that it would improve the final result.

Ahead of the Charrette, our team works to prep materials and various scope options for the project. This allows participants to get as much site information as possible and helps serve as a jumping off point.

The duration of a Charrette will vary based on the project size and community participation. The goals are:

  • to get as much input during the timeframe as possible
  • filter ideas through collective criticism and schematic design
  • flow the information to the appropriate feedback loops
  • end the Charrette with clear design outcomes

At the conclusion of the Charrette, project leaders and our team can move forward in the design process with confidence that we have considered all viewpoints. This system benefits everyone involved and produces results that the community can be proud of. If your local school district, municipality, or other organizations host a Charrette, we would encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to share your perspective and to be active in your community’s design.

Check out MSU NCI here.

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