Multidisciplinary Design Charrette Transforms Conventional Planning Process


Latino Health Walkability Design Community Planning
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Designing healthy, complete neighborhoods requires a holistic, collaborative process, but collaboration can get messy.

Charrettes are a creative way for agencies, organizations, groups, and community members to bust out of their specialist silos and work together to solve community planning and design problems. Charrettes are of often intense meetings lasting multiple days.

The National Charrette Institute (NCI) began training professionals in collaborative design and charrettes in 2002. In 2017, NCI partnered with the Michigan State University (MSU) School of Planning, Design and Construction (SPDC) and MSU Extension.

Professionals, such as transportation engineers, architects, urban designers, and planners need to work together with citizens, elected officials, business owners and other interested community members to design healthy neighborhoods. Be sure to invite public health and physical activity specialists to planning and design meetings.

Designing healthy neighborhoods is particularly important in Latino communities because they often lack access to safe places to walk, bike, or play within the context of their daily routines. Improving neighborhood characteristics, such as repairing sidewalks, installing street lights; and creating safer routes to school, work, healthy food, and active spaces can have a huge impact on physical activity, health, and overall quality of life.

The Charrette Way provides strategies and techniques for any government or project:

  • Inclusion and Empathy
  • The Creative Process
  • Collective Mindfulness
  • Silo Busting
  • Collaboration by Design
  • The Opportunity of Disruption
  • The Magic of Three Feedback Loops

Learn more about this design planning process from NCI here and spread the word.


Read a Salud Hero story about a collaborative effort to improve pedestrian safety in a Latino neighborhood in Denver.

Read a Congress for New Urbanism interview with Bill Lennertz, the founder and faculty member of NCI, and Jennifer Hurley, principal of Hurley-Franks & Associates.

Check out these five projects built by charrette.


By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latinos rely on public transit (compared to 14% of whites).

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