A Charrette is a public meeting or workshop devoted to a concerted effort to solve a problem or plan the design of something.
Charrettes have become a popular way of consultation over the last ten years as the Scottish Government provided grant funding for the process.
The aim of these events is to enable the community, industry and public bodies to work directly with professional designers and experts to generate a specific vision, masterplan and action plan to improve their place. The collaborative nature of charrettes allows the wider social and economic issues of the community to be considered alongside physical design issues. However, the Scottish Government recognises that the charrette approach is only one method of enabling participation in placemaking. Communities have different needs at different times and may require support not just in developing a vision for their place, but also at the stages before and after this.
While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for further dialogue.
Charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people. Although the structure of charrettes may vary, the general idea of a charrette is to create an innovative atmosphere in which a diverse group of stakeholders can collaborate to "generate visions for the future"
Charrettes resulting in community place plans usually involve planning professionals, public servants and community representation.