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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 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. 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.  

Featured Past Charrettes | Charrette Reports by theme | Full Charrette Archive  


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.


Upcoming Charrette Opportunities

beer flightHawkinsville Brewery Charrette | Fall 2020

CCDP, in association with the Archway Partnership and the Terry College of Business's Institute for Leadership Advancement, is working with folks in Hawkinsville, GA to help them recruit a new brewery to their town.

Located on the Ocmulgee River and known for its historic downtown, opera house, and carriage racing, Hawkinsville hopes to benefit from brewpub tourism and create an active social space for gathering.

Craft breweries have become a fast-growing industry in Georgia since 2012. There are currently 82 craft breweries in the state, over 40 of which are outside of the Atlanta metropolitan area. Other breweries in the Southeast have set an industry standard for being family-friendly, pet-inclusive, locally-driven event spaces. Thematically, popular brewpubs are either connected to nature – such as along a riverfront – or within revitalized historic buildings, both of which Hawkinsville is well-poised to market.

We are gathering a team to conduct a community design charrette in Hawkinsville to envision where best to house a brewery or brewpub that takes advantage of current trends and local community assets. Any CED student, faculty member, or student in a related field is welcome to attend; no charrette experience necessary. We especially hope to recruit folks with hospitality and food industry experience. Travel, meals, supplies and lodging are provided, as is a crash-course in community facilitation, multi-disciplinary collaboration, and quick graphic representation. 

Additionally, CCDP is researching small town breweries – such as those in Hartwell and Greensboro – as case studies for the project and will be planning pre-charrette site visits for participants. 

Interested? Sign up for the mailing list to hear more details!

Please email Jennifer Lewis at or Saadia Rais at to join.

Links of interest: The Georgia Beer Bill | Hawkinsville History | 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.

Charrette Handout | Featured Past Charrettes | Charrette Reports by theme | 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

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