What is a Charrette?

The term “charrette” comes from a French word meaning “little cart.” During the 1800’s, architecture students at the Ecole de Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) at the University of Paris would have presentations of their work, like an art exposition. Proctors from the school would come to the students’ homes with a small cart (a “charrette”) to collect their assignments and deliver them to the school.

Then as now, many of the students would work on their projects until the last minute, and would actually jump into the cart to finish their work during the journey to the school. 

Today, “charrette” has come to be a common term in community planning. Think of it as an intensive effort with both designers and the community working together on the journey to a successful plan. In a sense, we are all “in the cart” together. 

Design happens in a public forum, or in this instance, a public virtual forum, to encourage a wide variety of ideas from both citizens and design experts. This process allows for a diverse group of citizens and stakeholders to offer immediate feedback to planners and designers. 

It also builds a sense of ownership because the community and the design team are “in the cart” working on the plan together.

The OLF-8 charrette is scheduled for September 21 – 29, 2020. Due to COVID-19 impacts on travel and group meetings, much of the charrette will be done virtually. Citizens and stakeholders will be able to participate in a variety of ways, including from the comfort of their own homes. 

We have posted the initial charrette schedule and will provide more details on these engagement opportunities as we get closer to the event. The charrette schedule with all of the daily meetings and presentations will be the primary resource for public participation.

Who will participate in the Charrette?

The charrette will be led by Marina Khoury, Partner of DPZ CoDesign. During the opening presentation, the DPZ team will provide a summary of the research and analysis performed to date. 

This presentation will also include a marketability study for the site and a review of technical issues or information that will factor into the plan. 

Marina will also give a background on theory and practice as the starting point of the design work for the OLF-8 site.

Over the following nine days, Marina will lead a design team of over twelve town planners, architects, illustrators, market experts and environmental specialists to hear your ideas and help to integrate them into the master plan. 

Municipal and school board officials, community groups, business owners, residents, and interested investors are all invited to attend and participate in the charrette process. 

Over the next few months, we will provide more information on this site about ways you can participate in the charrette process. This website along with The DPZ Team will be your vehicle, providing constant feedback during the course of the charrette process.

Charrette Meetings

On the charrette schedule you will notice there are a series of meetings which include Private Team Meetings, Topic Focused Meetings, and Public Presentations.

Private Team Meetings

These are shown in light grey and are typically held in the morning to ensure each designer and team member is clear on their objectives for the day. This is also the design team’s opportunity to review the public input and feedback from the previous day. While open to the public, these are internally-focused and are not the primary ways for the public to interact with the team. 

Topic Focused Meetings

These are shown in pink and are technical meetings that focus on key issues or components of the master plan. The topic for each is listed on the calendar, so you can choose which you would like to join. 

Each of these meetings will be held via zoom and the public is encouraged to participate in one of three ways: 

  • Watch the live meeting online.
  • Join in the conversation online during the live meeting.
  • Watch the meeting recording at your own convenience. 

Public Presentations

These, shown in dark grey, are more formal  presentations where we will provide updates on the project as a whole.  Updates will include preliminary master plan options, character illustrations, and marketability findings and updates. 

These will also be streamed online for public viewing and participation. Like the Topic Meetings, these presentations will also be recorded for viewing later. Each of the presentations will be accompanied by a survey, which we hope everyone will take a few moments to fill out.