Charrette Glossary

Glossary of Charrette Terms and Related Terms

The charrette terms were extracted from The Charrette Handbook, second edition, by Bill Lennertz and Aarin Lutzenhiser, American Planning Institute, 2014.

Also included here are terms related to Austin's Land Development Code and terms regarding urban design from several sources.

Charrette Terms Definition
Charrette/NCI charrette Collaborative design and planning workshop that occurs over four to seven consecutive days. It is held on-site or near the project site. It involves all affected stakeholders in a series of feedback loops, resulting in a feasible plan. The charrette is the second phase of the three-phase NCI Charrette System.
Charrette manager (facilitator) Person who coordinates and manages the charrette. Responsible for logistical elements of the charrette, such as drawing production, transportation, catering, and organizing the charrette team. The charrette manager may also be the overall Project Manager.
Charrette products Drawings and documents produced by the charrette team during the charrette to assure project feasibility. May include a master plan, transportation plan, zoning codes, architectural guidelines, economic and market feasibility studies, and renderings.
Charrette studio Facility located on or near the project site where the charrette team works and holds stakeholder meetings during the charrette. It is generally open to the public throughout the charrette.
Charrette team Core group of planners, designers, engineers, economists, and others that creates the charrette products in collaboration with the stakeholders.
Feasible plan A plan capable of being implemented. A feasible plan successfully addresses all project constraints, such as environmental, political, financial, and engineering issues.
Feedback loop A feedback loop occurs when a design is proposed, reviewed, changed, and re-presented for further review.
NIC Charrette System Three-phase, holistic, collaborative planning process during which a multiple-day charrette is held as the central transformative event. The process commences with the Research, Engagement, and Charrette Preparation Phase, followed by the NCI Charrette acting as the fulcrum at the middle phase, and closes with the Plan Adoption (Implementation) Phase.
Open house Members of the community circulate through the charrette studio or other public meeting space to review and give feedback on the design and planning work in progress.
Pin-Up An informal plan review process in which members of the charrette team present and discuss their work with their peers and stakeholders.
Preferred plan The plan that emerges midway through the charrette from a set of alternative concepts and best solves the design problem. It is often a synthesis of two or more alternative concepts.
Project management team The individuals who are involved with the management of the charrette process from start to finish.
Project manager The person responsible for leading the entire process. During the charrette, the project manager maintains the primary relationships with the sponsor and the stakeholders and is responsible for leading the decision-making process and the public meetings.
Public kick-off meeting Public meeting held four to six weeks before the start of the charrette, to let people know about the project purpose and process and their options for involvement. It provides an opportunity to elicit information and vision elements from the public before any design/ planning work begins.
Sponsor Person or organization that funds the charrette process.
Stakeholder Anyone who will be reasonably affected by the project outcome. This includes project promoters, blockers, and those responsible for making decisions.
Terms below are from City of Austin publications
Austin Terms Definition
CodeNEXT City of Austin initiative to revise the land development process and regulations to realize our city’s future as envisioned in the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan. Expected to be ready for public review in Fall 2016.
Critical Environmental Features (CEFs) Features that are of critical importance to the protection of environmental resources, and include bluffs, canyon rimrock, sinkholes, springs, and wetlands.
Dark Sky Ordinance City of Austin ordinance requiring that exterior lighting be shielded and aimed so that it minimizes the amount of light aimed skyward (effective January 1, 2015). This is part of the City’s “Subchapter E: Design Standards and Mixed Use,” which was adopted August 31, 2006. The intent is to reduce spill-over light, also known as light pollution or light trespass.
Imagine Austin The current comprehensive plan for the City of Austin, adopted in June, 2012, after a 3-year process of public input.
Land Development Code Regulations that guide how land is used: what can be built, where it can be built, and how much. Austin’s Land Development Code regulates new development, redevelopment, zoning, subdivisions, transportation and parking, outdoor signs, site plans, drainage, watershed protection, open space, and more.
Terms below are from Ben Luckens and other sources, as cited
Urban Design Terms Definition
Complete Streets Roadways designed and operated to enable safe, attractive, and comfortable access and travel for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transport users of all ages and abilities.
LEED-NC [LEED for New Construction] LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program used worldwide that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve one of four possible levels of certification (Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum). The latest version, V4, has adaptations for different types of buildings (schools, stadiums, retail, multifamily residential, etc.) Goals addressed by the LEED program include: reverse the contribution to climate change; enhance human health and well-being, protect and restore water resources; protect, enhance, and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services; promote sustainable and regenerative material resources cycles; build a greener economy; enhance social equity, environmental justice, and community quality of life.
(source: US Green Building Council LEED V4 User Guide)
LEED-ND [LEED for Neighbhorhood Development] A US-based rating system that integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into a national system for neighborhood design. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development’s location and design meet accepted high levels of environmentally responsible, sustainable development.
The LEED-ND system is a collaboration between the United States Green Building Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The rating system encourages smart growth and New Urbanism best practices by:
• promoting the location and design of neighborhoods that reduce vehicle miles travelled (VMT);
• creating developments where jobs and services are accessible by foot or public transit; and
• promoting an array of green building and green infrastructure practices, particularly for more efficient energy and water use.
(source: Wikipedia)
Low Impact Development (LID) An innovative stormwater management approach with a basic principle that is modeled after nature: manage rainfall at the source using uniformly distributed decentralized micro-scale controls. LID addresses stormwater through small, cost-effective landscape features located at the lot level.
Neighborhood Center The smallest and least intense of the three types of activity centers outlined in Imagine Austin. Of the three, these will have a more local focus. Businesses and services will generally serve the center and surrounding neighborhoods.
New Urbanism A movement in city planning that tries to recommit traditional town planning designs to a modern context. It seeks to lessen dependence on automobiles while encouraging a development pattern where jobs, shops, and homes are located near one another. A new urbanist project would be mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented, and be sensitive to its neighborhood and environmental contexts.
Pedestrian-Friendly A built environment that is safe and pleasant for foot traffic because of design features that increase comfort and accessibility such as visually interesting buildings, quality sidewalks, crosswalks, and landscaping.
Regulating Plan A Regulating Plan is a document that includes design-based code development standards for properties within a specific geographical area. The Regulating Plan presents the development standards in both words and diagrams and includes a map designating the locations where different standards apply. This creates a more predictable built environment based on clear community intentions regarding the physical character of the area. (Source: COA Planning and Zoning Department web site) On a site plan, a marking of zones with information about what type of uses and types of buildings are allowed. (source: Farr Associates)
Streetscape The visual elements of a street, including the road, the orientation, scale and design adjoining buildings, street furniture, trees, and open spaces that combine to form the street’s character.
Sustainable Development Development that maintains or enhances economic opportunity and community well-being while protecting and restoring the natural environment upon which people and economies depend.
Transit-oriented Development (TOD) A mixed-use residential or commercial area designed to maximize access to public transport, increase economic activity, and often incorporates features to encourage transit ridership. A TOD typically has a center with a transit station or stop (train station, metro station, or bus stop), surrounded by relatively high-density development with progressively lower-density development spreading outward from the center.
Urban design The process of giving form, shape, and character to groups of buildings, to whole neighborhoods, and the city. In contrast to architecture, which focuses on the design of individual buildings, urban design deals with the larger scale of groups of buildings, streets and public spaces.