How Design Charrettes Yield Meaningful Engagement 

Want meaningful community engagement in an accelerated timeline? Consider the National Charrette Institute (NCI) Charrette System™.

Today, there are more opportunities than ever to obtain quality feedback from the community and stakeholders for your infrastructure projects. In addition to more traditional public involvement methods that provide project updates, there are a variety of tools available to solicit feedback and achieve buy-in from your stakeholders.

At SEH, we’re continuing to improve our approach to community engagement as we research and implement more effective methods. One such method is the NCI Charrette System, a collaborative, design-based project delivery system that transforms how local government leaders collaborate with the community. What sets the NCI process apart?

Accelerated timeline

Unlike other consensus-building processes that last months, the NCI Charrette System features an accelerated period — between three and ten days — where community members, project officials and technical professionals work closely together in groups to discuss options and work through design challenges.

Step two in the three-step NCI Charrette System is the multi-day charrette, an accelerated period of focused and meaningful stakeholder collaboration.

Co-signed by the community

At key stages, community input is collected by facilitators and transformed into a working plan. As the process continues, it builds synergy from the constant and continuous collaboration of citizens, community officials and facilitators. At the end of the final day, you have an implementable plan that is co-signed by citizens and backed by officials.

Using a seven-day NCI Charrette System, SEH and the City of La Crosse, Wis. were able to actively collaborate with stakeholders in their community’s riverfront redevelopment planning and design project.

Revitalizing waterfronts

Part of a select few in the Midwest skilled in facilitating the NCI Charrette System, the SEH planning team is finding the system especially suitable when developing community-inclusive plans for major waterfront redevelopments and other complex projects.

landscape rendering
landscape rendering
landscape rendering
During the three-day NCI charrette in Onalaska, Wis., landscape architect renderings helped participants visualize a variety of design features for the Grand River Landing planning and design project.

Can the NCI Charrette System engage your community and improve your next project? Contact SEH urban designer Bob Kost to find out.

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