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Design Charrettes for Sustainable Communities (2008)

By Patrick M. Condon
Island Press

This easily accessible and well-organized guide is an excellent resource for anyone interested in introducing charrettes, or design workshops, into the community planning process. Charrettes are intensive, often multi-day, efforts wherein community leaders, developers, public officials and the public collaborate to produce a unified vision or plan. Condon stresses that the charrette format, with its broad array of inputs, is essential to creating sustainable communities in the face of divergent problems. The book outlines charrette theory as it applies to “visioning charrettes” (explorations of what is possible) and “implementation charrettes” (which produce plans that can be put into practice with or without changes in zoning or other regulation.) Condon outlines practical techniques and guidelines for orchestrating productive design charrettes, focusing on topics such as scheduling and objective organization, making this text particularly useful. He provides step-by-step instructions for stakeholder workshops and breakouts as well as numerous models of successful concept plans. Twenty years of experience in the public and private sectors have provided Condon with considerable charrette experience. This experience has allowed him to identify common stumbling blocks in both the planning and execution stages of the charrette. As this form of public planning grows more popular, Design Charrettes for Sustainable Communities stands out as a practical, well-written, and well-reasoned guide to be utilized by planning professionals and non-professionals alike.

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