What is a charrette?

A “charrette” is an intensive planning session where property owners, business developers, designers, and others collaborate on a vision for the future. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers. More importantly, it allows everyone who participates to be a mutual author of the plan.

The team of design experts and consultants sets up a full working office within the project site, complete with drafting equipment, supplies, and computers. Formal and informal meetings are held throughout the event and updates to the plan are presented periodically. Through brainstorming and design activity, many goals are accomplished during the charrette. First, everyone who has a stake in the project develops a vested interest in the resulting vision. Second, the design team works together to produce a set of finished documents that address all aspects of design. Third, since the input of all the players is gathered at one event, it is possible to avoid the prolonged discussions that typically delay conventional planning projects. Finally, the finished result is produced more efficiently and cost-effectively because the process is condensed and collaborative.

Charrettes are organized to encourage the participation of all, including everyone who is interested in the project including residents, non-resident property owners, business interests, and developers, and is supported by a Steering Committee organized by the Property Owners’ Association. Ultimately, the purpose of the charrette is to engage participants in the planning process. Hot Springs Village is a large and diverse constituency, and it is important to help the design team understand your preferences and your reaction to design proposals.