Public Involvement and Design Charrettes  

Public Involvement is actively engaging the public by various methods to maximize their input in the development of public policy and projects. This might be transportation systems planning, land use planning such as the development of a park, or the planning of a public building such as a library. Public involvement might also be used in helping to mitigate the impacts of commercial property development on a neighborhood's quality of life.

Public involvement processes can include large public meetings, such as a town hall meeting, informational meetings, focus groups, interviews and surveying. The key to any successful public involvement process is identifying the stakeholders and getting them to the table in an inviting setting that maximizes their participation, captures their creative ideas and valuable insights, and stimulates their questions and comments.

Design Charrettes are used to maximize the public's involvement in helping architects and land use planners design public buildings, projects, and spaces. Through the public involvement and charrette process, many advantages are realized and include:

  • The end product is user-friendly and consequently well utilized.

  • Structures and spaces are esthetically pleasing, efficient, and effective.

  • The public feels valued and has a personal connection, "ownership", which supports community building.

Ruth Urban, principal of The Urban Group LLC has been trained by the National Charrette Institute at Portland State University to facilitate public meetings. She has many years of experience facilitating public involvement through various methods and for a variety of projects. She has been a member of the International Association for Public Participation since 1998. Ruth's training and experience as a facilitator and mediator have been invaluable in helping to establish rapport, developing a rich dialogue and managing challenging participants.

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