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College of Environment and Design

Design Charrettes

charrette montage

Does your city want to accommodate growth, but not at the expense of its historic town center?  What if your community needed to market prime acreage to industries yet also provide recreation for residents?  Perhaps a coastal community needs innovative stormwater management solutions, but isn’t sure where to begin? Like Winterville, Effingham County, and Tybee Island, respectively – you look to a charrette

“Charrette” describes a rapid, intensive, and creative work session, usually lasting several days, in which a team of designers and local stakeholders focus on a particular design problem and arrive at a collaborative solution. 

The Center for Community Design & Preservation (CCDP) has conducted over 100 design charrettes since 1997. As part of the College of Environment and Design, our core team comes from the disciplines of Landscape Architecture, Historic Preservation and Environmental Planning, but we often draw on students from across UGA to create discipline-specific teams as needed.

The format of individual charrettes remains flexible to satisfy the unique community needs and to respond to the local strengths and opportunities. Charrettes can be used to begin solving a variety of community concerns, such as downtown revitalization, building reuse, affordable housing, corridor planning, parks and recreation, wayfinding, and environmental management.  See samples of our work here.

Charrettes occur in three phases:

Phase I - Research, Assessment, & Preparation
Working with a local steering committee to identify stakeholders and user groups, set goals, develop base maps, research historic photographs, gather previous plans and studies, and plan for Phase II. Timeframe: 2-4 months

Phase II - Design Workshop
A 3-day event held in the community, beginning with direct public discussion to inform the charrette team of relevant issues, begin constructive visioning for community improvement, and create community buy-in. Work proceeds by refining ideas and eliminating ineffective options through regular feedback loops from stakeholders. The team’s work space remains open to the public so that citizens can stop by to provide feedback and additional information. The workshop concludes with a presentation of the team’s solutions for final input from stakeholders.

Phase III - Refine the Concepts
Our charrette team can generate a variety of final products to best suit each project, including press releases and newspaper articles; presentation boards; annotated PowerPoint presentations; brochures, maps, and other handouts; publicly-accessible websites and social media sites; and/or complete, full-color final reports enhanced with related case studies and sources for implementation. Timeframe: 2-3 months.


Charrette Opportunities

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John de la Howe School charrette | October 4-6, 2019

This historic 1300-acre campus is in McCormick, South Carolina, just over the Savannah River from Georgia.  John de la Howe's land was willed to the state in 1797 for the development of a school of agriculture for orphaned boys and girls to learn manual trade skills.  Over the last 200 years, the school's purpose, strategy and student body has varied, and it closed its doors in 2018 to reinvent itself as the South Carolina Governor’s School for Agriculture - a residential high school that will educate students for careers in the many fields associated with agriculture. 

This charrette will work with school administrators and alumni to visualize the redevelopment of their campus.  By respecting the historic site and understanding curricular needs, our goal is to develop ideas for a conceptual, sustainable master plan that realizes the site's potential and accomodates necessary growth.  Students in landscape architecture, historic preservation, planning, horticulture, forestry, education and other environmental and agricultural sciences are invited to participate.  Transportation, meals and lodging are provided, as is a crash-course in community facilitation, multi-disciplinary collaboration, and quick graphic representation. 

To participate, you must be able to commit to the entire 3-day event and be excused from classes and other obligations. Interested?  Email Jennifer Lewis at

Links of interest: John de la Howe School | A New Day at de la Howe | FAQs about charrettes


Can We Get a Charrette?

Interested in bringing a charrette to your community?
Contact Jennifer Lewis, Outreach Director at or 706-542-6760

For communities: Charrette Handout  | For students: FAQs about charrettes  

Featured Past Charrettes Charrette Reports by category | Full Archive   


We asked our communities, “What has been done locally since your charrette?”
•     “The county has acquired a $100,000 land and water grant and they are working on implementing some of the trails on the plan…The team that worked with us was very professional and extremely energetic! They brought fresh ideas to the table, but, more importantly, they listened to the community.” — Carrollton, GA, charrette conducted 2003

•     “We passed a Green Building Resolution requiring all municipal buildings and renovations to strive for LEED Silver certification.  We’re working with the River Basin Center and DNR to develop a model buffer ordinance for the coast.  We’ve begun a rain barrel program.  The first condos with a green roof are under construction in the beach business district.  We received a $2,000,000 GEFA loan for water line replacement.” —City of Tybee Island, charrette conducted 2005

•     “[We created] a mixed-use development (called “Town Center”) on major corner in City and in the downtown district [which] compliments historic district; Increased civic space (in Town Center) – creation of a 10 acre urban style park …total cost of park = $5,000,000+.  Design guidelines created [3 sets: 1 for the downtown district, 1 for the historic district, and 1 for Town Center area] in line with the UGA recommendations. City continues to encourage development along Buford Hwy. as described in the Charrette document. Lots and lots of cool stuff happening in Suwanee – much of it was spurred by the ideas that came out of the charrette.“ —City of Suwanee, charrette completed 2000