Glendora Avenue Rambla
Pedestrian Crossing on Sunset Avenue
Residences (south of the Wash)
Transit Mall along West Covina Parkway
Involve Everyone From Start
When involved at the inception, people are more likely to contribute their unique talents and ideas for West Covina’s future. West Covina citizens, officials. and board representatives meet and work with the design team throughout the charrette to create a vision, which incorporates their concerns. The charrette process involves everyone in a facilitated process so everyone is heard and no one dominates — this format brings decision makers together in one place for a concentrated effort to create a detailed, feasible vision. Having contributed to the planning, participants are in a position both to understand and support a project’s rationale. This approach is initially more work, but, in the long run, it saves time in reworking and produces a higher quality plan with a greater chance of implementation.
Work Concurrently and Cross-functionally
All design work is done concurrently by a cross-functional team that usually includes architects, planners, engineers, economists, city staff, and citizens, incorporating user input, so that decisions are measurable and realistic every step of the way. A cross-functional team working together from the start, further eliminates the need to rework the design because it continually reflects the wisdom of each specialty. During the charrette, the collaboration of the design and development disciplines also helps produce a set of finished documents that address all aspects and phases of a project. Detailed designs are undertaken individually or in small groups. At other times, larger caucuses occur, and often there are simultaneous meetings. Periodically everyone gets together for a briefing, discussion, or presentation.
Work in short feedback loops
A feedback loop happens when a design is proposed, reviewed, modified, and represented for further review. The shorter the cycle, the greater the level of influence and buy-in by the reviewing parties. After getting feedback on the preliminary design, the charrette participants are told to come back the next evening to review the changes. The misunderstandings are resolved quickly before they have time to crystallize. Regular stakeholder input and reviews quickly build trust in the process and foster true understanding and support of the product.
Work in Detail
True buy-in can only be achieved on a fully informed dialogue on details and the big picture concurrently. Studies at these two scales also inform each other and reduce the likelihood that a fatal flaw will be overlooked in the plan.
Resource: National Charrette Institute
A charrette is an collaborative and rigorous planning process that harnesses the talents and energies of individuals to create and support a community vision. The compressed time facilitates creative problem-solving by accelerating decision-making and reducing non-constructive negotiation tactics, and encourages people to abandon their usual working patterns and “think outide of the box.” The consulting team facilitated a five day charrette in the last week of February.