The Charrette Handbook

The Essential Guide for Accelerated, Collaborative Community Planning

By Bill Lennertz, Aarin Lutzenhiser

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Charrettes engage citizens in envisioning new possibilities for their communities. They foster the collaboration, creativity, and consensus necessary to define a vision shared by citizens, officials, developers, and other stakeholders.

The Charrette Handbook is a step-by-step guide to a successful charrette. Based on the NCI Charrette Planner certification training curriculum developed by th...

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Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Sept. 20, 2006
APA Planners Press

About the Authors

Bill Lennertz

Aarin Lutzenhiser
Bill Lennertz, AIA, is Executive Director of the National Charrette Institute. Bill is a principal author and lead trainer of the NCI Charrette System™, the first structured approach to design-based collaborative community planning. Since he co-founded NCI in 2001, Bill has trained top staff from various organizations including the US Environmental Protection Agency, US General Services Administration, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae Foundation, and Departments of Transportation in Oregon, New York, and Arizona, as well as many private planning firms across the country. First as Director of the Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) Boston office, and then as partner in Lennertz Coyle & Associates, Bill has directed over 150 charrettes. The charrette projects for both public and private clients range from main street revitalizations, town centers and affordable housing, to complete, new neighborhoods and communities. By incorporating the charrette process in a broad range of challenging projects, Bill has encountered virtually every type of political, economic, and design problem that challenges smart growth and he brings this experience to NCI trainings and publications. Bill co-authored The Charrette Handbook, published by the American Planning Association, is the co-editor and essayist of Towns and Town-Making Principles, a monograph on DPZ, and a contributor to the Charter of the New Urbanism. Bill has taught at various universities including Harvard, where he received his Masters of Architecture in Urban Design and now annually teaches the NCI Charrette System™ certificate course.

Table of Contents

Forward viii

Preface x

SECTION ONE: Introduction to Charrettes and Dynamic Planning

SECTION TWO: The History of the Charrette Process

SECTION THREE: Dynamic Planning Tools and Techniques

Phase 1: Research, Education, and Charrette Preparation
1.1 Project Assessment and Organization
1.2 Stakeholder Research, Education, and Involvement
1.3 Base Data Research and Analysis
1.4 Project Feasibility Studies and Research
1.5 Charrette Logistics

Phase 2: The Charrette
2.1 Organization, Education, Vision
2.2 Alternative Concepts Development
2.3 Preferred Plan Synthesis
2.4 Plan Development
2.5 Production and Presentation

Phase 3: Plan Implementation
3.1 Project Status Communications
3.2 Product Refinement
3.3 Presentation and Product Finalization

SECTION FOUR: Charrette Case Studies

Downtown Kendall, Florida
Bedford Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee
The Plan for Central Hercules, Hercules, California
Pleasant Hill BART Station, Walnut Creek, California

SECTION FIVE: Supplemental Material

Frequently Asked Questions
Charrette Scheduling Variations
Further Reading
About NCI


"No planning library should be without this book. It provides an outline of all the tools necessary to hold a successful charrette."

—Rick Bernhardt, FAICP
Executive Director, Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Planning Department

"Civic leaders are increasingly turning to the charrette as a democratic and holistic approach to planning for rebuilding and new development. This authoritative handbook shows them how to do it right."

—Don Chen
Executive Director, Smart Growth America

"This is arguably the best book on charrettes, the Gray's Anatomy of these community design workshops."

— Douglas S. Kelbaugh
Dean and Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan

"This is a wonderfully clear manual on how to conduct public design processes. Forty years ago, such processes were the exception. This book will help to ensure that they become the norm."

— Raymond L. Gindroz
Chairman, Urban Design Associates