Downtown Redevelopment

December 2008 - Posts

Let's Get Together

We've set the date for the primary citizen participation opportunity for the Downtown Master Plan: Jan. 12-16.

Yes, you've read that right. It's not a day, it's an entire work week. Torti Gallas and its subconsultants will be holding a week-long charrette in the Community Room at the McConico Building, 301 W. Bagdad Ave.

"What the heck is a charrette?" you ask. A charrette is an intensive brainstorming session involving any number of people and lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days; all are involved in defining problems and coming up with solutions for them.

In the architectural profession it has been a tradition -- ever since the Ecole des Beaux Arts sent a cart (charrette) around Paris to collect its students' work when the submission deadline was reached -- to call crash efforts at designing as being "en charrette." (The hard-pressed students, rather than surrender their designs, used to jump on the cart along with their drawings so that they might work on them a few minutes longer "on the cart," i.e., "en charrette.")

A successful charrette can accomplish several things, among them:

  • It engages everyone who has anything at all to do with the problem at hand in a creative manner, i.e. in the effort of creating solutions -- not reasons why this and that solution won't work.
  • It results in a comprehensive compilation of everyone's ideas, especially everyone's ideas on how to improve a situation.

Here are details about what to expect over the course of the charrette.