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College of Environment and Design

Design Charrettes

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Featured Past Charrettes | Charrette Reports | Full Charrette Archive| FAQs for Students

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 multi-day work session in which a team of designers and local stakeholders focus on a particular planning problem and arrive at a collaborative solution. 

The Center for Community Design & Preservation (CCDP) has conducted over 100 design charrettes since 1997. 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.

As part of the College of Environment and Design, our core team comes from the disciplines of Landscape Architecture, Historic Preservation and Urban Planning, but we often draw on students from across UGA to create discipline-specific teams as needed. Our charrettes have attracted Geology students to help design a kaolin museum, Education students to re-envision an African American boarding school, and Law students to advocate for community development in underserved neighborhoods.   


Charrette StoryMap Thumbnail


Map of CCDP Charrettes

Take a look at our interactive Community Design Charrettes ArcGIS StoryMap to learn more about charrette projects completed by the Center of Community Design and Preservation. You can jump to specific cities, browse through charrette information, explore project themes, and more.





How do Charrettes Work?

Often described as “a tornado in reverse”, a facilitated charrette can take scattered issues, ideas and concerns and refine them into a comprehensive, illustrated vision.  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.

We asked our communities,“How has a design charrette impacted your community?”

•    “The UGA Center for Community Design and Preservation's design charette is an outstanding tool that communities can use to build community input and support for projects that may not have a clear way forward.”  Jason Ford, Hartwell, GA, charrette conducted Fall 2022

•    “We are so thankful to the department for the opportunity to dream for others in a collaborative and innovative environment.” Camp Hooray, charrette conducted Spring 2016

•    "The work done by the students was very professional and the (excited) direction given by Jennifer Lewis was beyond excellent. We did a lot of this on Zoom, which at the time, was new to all of us. Could not be more pleased with how it turned out and I know that some, if not all of the work will eventually be done, once the funding piece is in place."- Don Powers, McDuffie County Trails, charrette conducted Spring 2021

Featured Past Charrettes | Charrette Reports | Full Charrette Archive| FAQs for Students

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