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This Article is By: Kingston Electors    On  Nov. - 15, 2005


adapted from Ideas for Community Consultation

A report prepared for the NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning

Dr Lyn Carson and Dr Katharine Gelber

New South Wales, Australia
February 2001

A charrette is an intensive, consultative planning process. The term ‘charrette’ is derived from the French word for ‘little cart’. Students at the École de Beaux-arts in Paris from the mid 1800s to the 1930s were asked to produce work weekly. The work was handed in by being placed in the ‘charrette’ as it trundled across the studio. It was adapted by a US architectural and planning firm, Duany and Plater-Zyberg, for producing high quality urban design solutions within a short period of time.

A charrette involves a rapid and dynamic interchange of ideas between planning practitioners, stakeholders and the general community. To prepare for a charrette, a convening team of planning practitioners publicises the issue under discussion widely, and books venues for large public meetings.

On day one, the convenors draw up some preliminary issues for discussion. On the evening of day one, a public meeting is held to allow the general community to identify options and desired outcomes from the planning process, via discussion both collectively and in smaller, facilitated groups.

On day two, the convenors meet with stakeholder groups, such as landowners, developers and those with an interest in the region at issue such as environmentalists. This allows for ‘expert’ input into devising planning options. On day three the convenors draw together a list of options by combining their understanding of community concerns with the preferred outcomes of the interest groups. These options are produced in a format which is open to public inspection by the community and the stakeholders concerns. If the convenors feel some of the options suggested are unviable or conflict with community values, they can incorporate this into the planning options they put forward. Focus meetings are held with stakeholders and interested community members.