Urban Design Group Event: Charrettes – best practice for 21st Century Placemaking

Urban Design Group Event

Charrettes – best practice for 21st Century Placemaking

Wednesday 06 March, 6:15pm to 8:30pm
JTP, Unit 5, The Rum Warehouse, Pennington Street, Wapping, E1W 2AP

Jane Jacobs famously wrote: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” But how can communities most effectively participate in shaping the places they call home?

Chaired by Charles Campion, author of 20/20 Visions: Collaborative Planning & Placemaking this event will bring together four speakers highly experienced in Charrette and community engagement processes.

Evening programme:
6.15 Arrival
6.30 Welcome and introduction by Charles Campion, JTP
6.40 Individual presentations by panellists
7.30 Panel discussion & Q&A
8.00 Informal conversations and networking
8.30 Close

First conceived in the United States in the fifties and mainstreamed by the American Institute of Architects R/UDAT programme in the sixties, hundreds if not thousands of co-design Charrettes processes have subsequently been held around the world to bring communities genuinely into the heart of planning and placemaking. Despite the demonstrable benefits, there are still many architects and planners who lack the confidence and expertise to collaborate with the public effectively.

Considering these critical issues will be four speakers including Lynne Ceeney, Lytton Consulting; Nick Taylor, The Piece Hall, Halifax, and; Husam AlWaer, Senior Lecturer at University of Dundee.

For more information please visit:

Charles Campion, author of 20/20 Visions, to speak at Dundee University on Wed 20 February 2019

The Association of Dundee Architecture Students (ADAS) in partnership with The Academy of Urbanism, RTPI Scotland & University of Dundee & JTP kindly invite you to the following event:


“Just as the act of voting is a right, it is inherently democratic to bring people genuinely to the heart of planning and placemaking.”
20/20 Visions: Collaborative Planning & Placemaking (RIBA Publishing, 2018)

Charles Campion RIBA AoU, a Partner at JTP Architects, Masterplanners & Placemakers, joins ADAS to give an exclusive talk on the importance of charrette processes and the involvement of the community in placemaking and urban design. Followed by a Q&A facilitated by Craig McLaren, Director of RTPI Scotland.

Date: Wednesday 20 February 2019

Time: 5pm-7pm
5pm Drinks Reception
5:30pm Talk with Charles Campion
6:30pm Q&A with Director of RTPI Scotland, Craig McLaren

Location: LT 5018
Matthew Building, 13 Perth Road, University of Dundee.

This event is FREE.
Ticket must be acquired for entry.

For tickets and more information, please see link below or click the poster to download:

Charrette to plan way forward for Auroville, India: Monday 7 – Tuesday 13 January 2019

Auroville was founded in 1968 by the spiritual leader Mirra Alfassa outside Pondicherry, Southern India as a universal town where men and women of all countries could live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.

Much progress has been made over the last 50 years, including the environmental restoration of the land, and more remains to be done to develop Auroville and raise the population up towards the 50,000 inhabitants originally envisioned.

From 7 January, Auroville’s town planning and development research organisation l’Avenir and an international team led by Andreas von Zadow will facilitate a charrette to work out baselines for Auroville’s next decades and develop a Way Forward Strategy reflecting on:

  • Mother Mirra Alfassa’s vision and unlocking its potential
  • Fresh ideas for healthy and sustainable placemaking
  • Challenges of decision making within a unique self-governance concept
  • Capacity building at l‘Avenir to improve services and outputs

The charrette team includes:
Von Zadow International
Dreiseitl Consulting
Eble Messerschmidt Partner

We will follow the progress of the charrette as it happens on and on Twitter @20_20Visions

For more information about Auroville please visit

Auroville Charrette Flyer
Auroville Charrette Process

Citizen participation on innovative urban expansion in Riegel, Germany

On Friday 12 and Saturday 13 October 2018 the local community are invited to a participatory Perspektivenwerkstatt (Charrette) in Riegel, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany to co-design a substantial urban expansion to the north west of the town called ‘Breite III’.

The ‘Breite III’ development is an opportunity for Riegel Council to focus on delivering new and innovative services for the entire community and to shape more communal, integrated and independent living for elderly people in the community. Existing residents are invited to be involved at an early stage, together with a ‘Support Group’ consisting of more than 20 qualified experts from the local area. The Council’s aspiration is to explore new ways for Riegel’s community to develop, and to find innovative housing concepts that will lead to positive solutions to overcome the social and demographic challenges of decades to come.

The process will be facilitated by coaching and facilitation practice Von Zadow International and architects Eble Messerschmidt Partner

Andreas von Zadow is featured in the Lübeck case study in 20/20 Visions. There he co-facilitated a seven day Community Planning Weekend with JTP to create a new vision for the streets and spaces of this world heritage city.

For more information on the ‘Breite III’ development in Riegel, visit the council homepage

Civil Society Strategy puts communities at the centre of decision-making

This August 2018, the UK Government has released its first Civil Society Strategy in fifteen years. The 122 page Strategy sets out a vision which places communities at the centre of decision-making and focuses on five key foundations of social value: people, places and the social, private and public sectors.

The Strategy, published by the Office for Civil Society ­– part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport – not only provides a set of reforms across public and private sectors to build a fairer society, but describes a set of specific actions along with case studies to support these actions. One of these actions will be to launch an ‘Innovation in Democracy’ pilot scheme in six regions across the UK. This will offer creative ways for citizens to participate in direct democracy, such as citizen juries, participatory events and online apps.

Visit the UK government webpage to view the Civil Society Strategy 

China / UK  new town knowledge exchange reveals key learnings

In a recent article in Town & Country Planning magazine (TCPA, July 2018) Ying Ying Tian, Director of the China Design Centre, describes how China and the UK face similar challenges in identifying the right places to build while striking a balance between urban and rural landscapes. The article offers key learning points from a 2017 study tour of five UK towns with two groups of senior managers from Greentown China and Bluetown Group – sister companies which are currently building 30 new towns in China. Ying distils the learning points, not as a replicable model of English towns, but as a series of ideas on time, stewardship, systemic thinking and management.

The China Design Centre (CDC) is a dedicated platform between China and the UK to promote design and innovation exchange. You can learn more about Ying and the CDC at

Thank you to the TCPA for permission to share this article. Click image to read article:



NPPF promotes early collaboration with stakeholders and communities

On the 24 July 2018, the UK Government released a revision to its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied. The Policy Framework takes a clear stance on early engagement with stakeholders and communities to ensure responsiveness to local interests and to maintain design integrity.

The NPPF was first introduced in 2012 and has since undergone scrutiny from a wide range of professionals in the public and private sectors. The revised NPPF declares that, “the creation of high quality buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve”. This heightened emphasis on design quality is supported in the chapter entitled, ‘Achieving well-designed places’ which states that early and sustained engagement with stakeholders and communities should reflect local aspirations.

Paragraph 128 states, “Design quality should be considered throughout the evolution and assessment of individual proposals. Early discussion between applicants, the local planning authority and local community about the design and style of emerging schemes is important for clarifying expectations and reconciling local and commercial interests. Applicants should work closely with those affected by their proposals to evolve designs that take account of the views of the community. Applications that can demonstrate early, proactive and effective engagement with the community should be looked on more favourably than those that cannot.

Chapter 129 says, “Local planning authorities should ensure that they have access to, and make appropriate use of, tools and processes for assessing and improving the design of development. These include workshops to engage the local community… These are of most benefit if used as early as possible in the evolution of schemes,  and are particularly important for significant projects such as large scale housing and mixed use developments. In assessing applications, local planning authorities should have regard to the outcome from these processes…”

Clare San Martin, Partner at JTP Architects, says, “This call for early engagement with communities will encourage clients to embrace a collaborative rather than confrontational approach.” She continues, “Overstretched local planning authorities under pressure to deliver schemes quickly, too often allow detrimental changes following consent. A good design code developed with community and stakeholder involvement can be a really effective way of avoiding this.”

For more information about the revised NPPF and to download the document please visit

Three launch events for 20/20 Visions

by Charles Campion

In late June, I was delighted to be joined by eminent guests at three launch events for 20/20 Visions: Collaborative Planning & Placemaking.

The first launch, which I dubbed the #NorthernPowerhouse launch, took place at community owned and managed Hebden Bridge Town Hall as part of the Incredible Festival of Ideas on Friday 22 June.  I was introduced by Pam Warhurst, co-founder of Incredible Edible Todmorden, and joined by Erin Simmons, Senior Director, Design Assistance at the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Erin spoke about the AIA’s role in devising and establishing charrette methodology in the 1960’s through its Regional Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) initiative, which involves communities working with professionals to co-design their towns and neighbourhoods.

Launch two was at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Bookshop in Portland Place, London on Tuesday 26 June.  I was delighted to be joined by guests from RIBA Publishing, JTP and other invited friends and colleagues. I was also delighted that Joel Mills, Senior Director, Communities by Design, AIA had flown over from the States to speak at the launch about the vital importance of involving communities in shaping their places.  I then spoke about the intentions behind 20/20 Visions and thanked the long list of those who had helped shape my career path and those who had helped with the production of the book.

David “Harry” Harrison then read out a message from John Thompson, a pioneer of community planning in the UK. John wrote,

The lessons are plain to see, collaborative planning and placemaking can surpass all barriers and can bring together all the interested parties in a positive and creative atmosphere rather than just the usual decide and defend process.

The Irish launch took place in Cork as part of the Academy of Urbanism Annual congress. I was joined by Angela Brady, past President of RIBA, and Joel Mills.  20/20 Visions contains two Irish case studies – one recounts the story of the Crumlin Road, Belfast Ideas Weekend involving the two sides of the sectarian divide and which was held back in 1997, a year before the Good Friday agreement was signed.  The second covers the year long community planning process that created the Local Area Plan for the Liberties area of Dublin, home of Guinness.

I will be looking forward to further launches in other territories and am particularly looking forward to visiting Iceland in September where I have been invited to speak at the National Planning Conference.

Design Thinking Drawing as Design Practice

Today (Monday July 9) from 5:50 to 8pm, acclaimed Australian urbanist, Peter Richards, will deliver a talk hosted by the Academy of Urbanism (AoU), during which he will show how hand drawing and collaborative design processes have defined the thinking and work of his South-East Queensland practice, Deicke Richards. The evening talk is open to all and free to attend, however booking is essential. See event webpage on the Academy of Urbanism website

Today’s talk  follows on from day one of the DesignThinkingDrawing workshop that Peter is leading and coincides with the release of his new book, DesignThinkingDrawing.  The book builds on Peter Richards’ 35 years of reflective practice in urban design and architecture, and his extensive collection of drawings throughout this time. DesignThinkingDrawing shows how to prepare drawings and diagrams to analyse and synthesise and to generate and explain ideas. The more conventional plans at various scales, sections and perspectives are also demystified. The book forms the coursework for the two day workshop at the AoU and participants will receive their very own copy.

Over the last 20 years Peter’s South-East Queensland practice, Deicke Richards, have utilised the processes found in the new book as part of an essential strategy of their design approach. The office has created a broad range of significant urban design and architecture projects including master plans for new settlements, urban centres, precincts, transit-oriented developments, and urban renewal.

Humans are collaborative by nature

“Humans are collaborative by nature, people want to be involved in shaping their communities and places”; said Charles Campion speaking on Tuesday 15 May at New Unity, Newington Green London, the first of the Voices of Dissent lecture series.

In the lecture, entitled ‘People, Place, Participation’ Charles shared a series of case studies from his new book 20/20 Visions: Collaborative Planning & Placemaking, which underline the capacity and willingness of communities to design a vision for where they live and then be part if its delivery. His message is that professionals should have the capacity to listen to communities and to work collaboratively to help realise a vision together.

David Brewerton, member at New Unity, gave this introduction to Charles’ presentation:

“It has become generally accepted that the strange political events of the past few years — the rise and fall of UKIP, the election of Trump, the rise of Marine le Penn, the leave vote in the referendum — have a common cause. “They are not listening to us”.

This feeling has many manifestations across all aspects of political and social activity, but one that has a long tail to it is in urban planning. We all have our own pet hates of ill thought out places. Things get planned and built that the community neither wants nor needs.

Charles Campion is a renowned architect who starts from the premise that communities know stuff that planners don’t, and has the methodology to capture that knowledge. He has worked with communities in many different countries and spoken extensively both in the UK and abroad.”

20/20Visions: Collaborative Planning & Placemaking is now available at RIBA bookshops 


“‘Voices of Dissent’ is New Unity’s monthly lecture series. Speakers are united in their commitment to meaningful social reform. They’re all leading experts in their field, be that economics, politics, science, ecology, or social justice. They refuse to go with the consensus, preferring to ask the difficult questions that others avoid. And then suggest radical answers.”

-New Unity

Next up in the Voices of Dissent series is ‘Visioning a World without Prisons’. Social justice campaigner, Mo Mansfield and former prisoner turned advocate for Women’s Building Group for Holloway, will bring Feminist Abolitionist principles to bare in considering how through a Women’s Building we might better organise our care for each other – including how we tackle issues like gender-based violence – without continuing to rely on our broken criminal justice system.

Voices of Dissent: Visioning a World without Prisons
Tuesday 19 June 2018 at 7:30pm
New Unity @ Newington Green – 39A Newington Green, London, N16 9PR
More details can be found at New Unity