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.
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.
Little River Trails Design Charrette | Spring 2021
The Center for Community Design and Preservation, in association with the Archway Partnership, is working with folks in McDuffie Co. GA to design a multi-modal land trail system in conjunction with the existing Little River Water Trail.
Georgia’s Little River Water Trail is an intimate river with a wide array of wildlife and rich history. The trail winds 20 miles along the McDuffie and Wilkes County lines from the Woodruff Bridge at Highway 80 to Raysville Campground on Clarks Hill Lake.
We are gathering a team to conduct a virtual design charrette to envision how best to incorporate hiking, biking and equestrian trails within a 6-mile stretch of Wildlife Management Area land along the Little River. We will explore current recreational trends and local community assets to offer a conceptual master plan that includes wide connectivity as well as enhanced boat launches and improvements to existing recreational campgrounds. Any CED student, faculty member, or student in a related field is welcome to register, no charrette experience necessary. We especially hope to recruit folks with an interest in forestry, engineering, parks, recreation and tourism.
Due to the current Covid-19 regulations, we will not be conducting the charrette in McDuffie County. The charrette will take place over the course of the Spring 2021 semester instead of our typical weekend affairs and will include a virtual public input session and 2 workdays on campus, where meals and supplies will be provided. CCDP plans to utilize virtual tools and group collaboration to conduct the same crash-course in community facilitation, multi-disciplinary teamwork, and quick graphic representation the program is known for.
Interested? Sign up for the mailing list to hear more details and weigh in on potential charrette dates in March!
Please email Devin Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org to join our mailing list!
Can We Get a Charrette?
Interested in bringing a charrette to your community?
Contact Jennifer Lewis, Outreach Director, at email@example.com or 706-542-6760.
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