These ten planning strategies are summarized from The Charrette Handbook: The Essential Guide for Accelerated Collaborative Community Planning.* These planning strategies are essential to the success of a charrette process.
- Work Collaboratively: Everyone’s contribution matters, not just the experts’opinions. Stakeholders need to be involved early on when their ideas can still be considered, before the final outcome.
- Design cross-functionally: All areas of relevant expertise need to be represented throughout the charrette process. All representatives need to be focused on the same goal from the start to avoid changes and rework to the final plan.
- Compress work sessions: Time limitations and intense focus on a problem tend to spawn creative solutions.
- Communicate in short feedback loops: Stakeholders brought into the design process at a point where their ideas can be considered can appreciate and understand a public review of a design proposal that reflects their input. They can suggest changes and when participants see that their ideas are considered and respected, they are willing to support the project.
- Study the details and the whole: Creating plans at various scales help stakeholders and designers alike understand the effect one decision has on another. Sometimes you need the bird’s eye view and the street view, side by side, to understand the impact of an idea.
- Confirm Progress through measuring outcomes: Predetermined measures of success among the primary stakeholders will result in recognizable progress of the design process. These measures allow the project team to show how they arrived at particular decisions.
- Produce a feasible plan: The success of the design project lies in its ability to be implemented. Implementation will be determined by feasibility, conditions best handled by the legal, financial and engineering disciplines.
- Use design to achieve a shared vision and create holistic solutions: Strong visuals illustrate the challenges of a site, possible solutions and can help sway opinions.
- Conduct a multiple day charrette: A successful collaborative charrette takes at least four days and three feedback loops. The first feedback loop presents stakeholder ideas and initial insights of all involved. The second loop digs deeper, pulls more realistic results and shows stakeholders that they are being heard. The third loop shows the final plan produced by continuous input, feedback and response.
- Hold the charrette on or near the site: The designers need to have constant access to the area so they can look at it and go back to their boards and draw it. Stakeholders need to be able to stop in and see the process at work beyond the scheduled meetings so that they feel included and informed.
*Lennertz, Bill and Aarin Lutzenhiser. The Charrette Handbook: The essential Guide for Accelerated Collaborative Community Planning. Portland, OR. The National Charrette Institute, 2006. P. 10, 11, 12.