News & Blogs

National Charrette Institute discussed collaboration strategies at CNU 27.Louisville Conference

The Congress for New Urbanism hosted their annual conference, CNU 27.Louisville, June 12-15, 2019, in Kentucky.

On Thursday, June 13, National Charrette Institute’s (NCI) director Holly Madill participated in a panel session on “Working Toward Yes: Dealing with Divided Communities”. Participants were able to learn from the real-world experiences of three practitioners, and one community representative who participated in a particularly difficult public design process. Bill Lennertz, president of Collaborative Design and Innovation LLC and NCI trainer, moderated the session. Other panelists included:

  • Jennifer Hurley, AICP, CNU-A, PP, president and CEO of Hurley-Franks & Associates;
  • Stacie Nicole Smith, senior mediator for the Consensus Building Institute; and
  • George Proakis, executive director of Strategic Planning & Development for Somerville, Massachusetts.

This session provided commonsense solutions to three vexing and common problems:

  1. How to reach groups that are typically not served,
  2. how to avoid meeting fatigue, and
  3. dealing with disruptive participants.

From the NCI perspective, these can be addressed by careful preparation of the charrette process to engage stakeholders, and making sure the charrette framework and individual engagements within it are designed to meet the intended outcomes. Using the creative design process can also make engagements interesting and meaningful.


For more please click here

Charles Campion speaking at the AiA ‘19 Conference in Las Vegas

On Saturday 10 June 2019 JTP Partner Charles Campion will be speaking at the AiA ‘19 Conference in Las Vegas at a session entitled “Community Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion in International Practice”.

Charles, author of 20/20 Visions: Collaborative Planning & Placemaking (RIBA Publishing), will share the platform with chair Alison Laas AIA, Associate at Payette, Boston and Patricia Natke, FAIA, President & Design Principal at UrbanWorks, Chicago.

Architects across the globe are passionate about leveraging the design process to find creative and innovative participation strategies for diversity and inclusion in our communities. The panel includes leaders from different firms who are developing approaches and policies to better engage communities in designing a more inclusive built environment.

Charles Campion says, “Communities add critical economic, social and environmental value to planning and placemaking processes and the United States is where co-design Charrette processes were first conceived over 50 years ago. The AIA’s first R/UDAT (Regional Urban Design Assistance Team) was held in 1967 and the programme is still thriving today. I am excited to be presenting international case studies from 20/20 Visions and exchanging best practice in community planning with colleagues from across North America.”

Objectives of the session

  1. Exploring innovative strategies for community engagement from US-based and international projects that increase diversity and participation in the design process and equitable outcomes for the built environment.
  2. Learning about engagement programs, like R/UDAT, that promote community participation by typically under-represented parties, and interdisciplinary design teams, to drive inclusive and successful project outcomes.
  3. Discovering how designers based in the US and abroad have approached international projects and successfully engaged with communities from cultures, nationalities, and contexts that are different from those of the design team.
  4. Understanding the challenges communities face in increasing equity, diversity and inclusion, and how the built environment can be leveraged to increase opportunities for all community members.

Walking workshop: The future of Hammersmith Bridge, London as a world-class walking & cycling link, Sat 18 May 2019

Venue: Rutland Arms, 15 Lower Mall, Hammersmith, London W6 9DJ
Date & Time: Saturday 18 May 2019, 11.00am – 1.30pm
Book your place at the workshop here
Walking workshop organised by London Car Free Day

10.30am Meet in front of the Rutland Arms pub
11am – 12noon Walk across Hammersmith Bridge with local guides
12noon – 1.30pm Pub lunch at the Rutland Arms and presentations on what the bridge could be like as a permanent walking and cycling connection for London.

Hammersmith Bridge trial as a business-boosting walking & cycling link for summer 2019
Hammersmith Bridge could be London’s most impressive new walking and cycling provision. It has been traffic-free since early April and this meeting will bring together community, business, and local government stakeholders to discuss the bridge’s potential future as an example of world-class walking and cycling infrastructure.

With the Chelsea Flower just around the corner, Car Free Day London has invited the RHS and others to join the dialogue and share ideas for greening bridge over the summer months, showcasing what a permanent walking and cycling bridge could look like. Partners at Meristem Design and Abundance London have been invited to share their ideas for new parklets and native planting on the bridge and at the new public spaces that have been opened up at either end. The Hammersmith BID (Business Improvement District) and its members will also be invited to share views on the bridge’s future function as an attractive new piece of transport infrastructure and public realm.

Representatives from the neighbourhoods most polluted schools and the Hammersmith and Fulham Air Quality Commission will also be invited to participate in the discussion on how a pedestrian and cycling bridge could catalyse better air quality and more active travel across the borough.

Moderated discussion with:
David Chamberlain, Commissioner, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Air Quality Commission
Clare Wadd, Chair, London Ramblers
Casey Abaraonye, Chair, Hammersmith & Fulham Cyclists
Councillor Stephen Cowan, Leader, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (invited)

Please see details on the proposal for a summer trial of the bridge for walking and cycling here:


Community Planning Pioneer John Thompson receives Urban Design Group (UDG) Lifetime Achievement Award

John Thompson, has been presented with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the UDG National Urban Design Awards 2019.

The award follows John receiving an American Institute of Architects AIA Presidential Citation in February this year, affirming his contribution to the architectural profession and his unique standing in the fields of urban design and collaborative planning and placemaking.

John has had a 50-year career as a renowned architect and urbanist, devoted to improving the quality of everyday life in neighbourhoods. From the very beginning of his career in the early 1970’s as a partner at Hunt Thompson Associates, John pursued a pioneering approach; first community architecture and then community planning, working directly with local people to create places that encourage social interaction and help nurture a strong sense of community, often in areas experiencing significant social and economic challenges.

In 1994 John became founder chair of John Thompson and Partners, now known as JTP.  In 1998 JTP’s multi-award-winning regeneration of the former Caterham Barracks marked the first time that a large-scale Community Planning Weekend (aka Charrette) process had been promoted in the UK by a private developer.

Involving local people in the planning process has since been written into English planning policy (through Localism and the NPPF) and is now a required part of every significant planning application, thanks in large part to John’s influence.

In 2006 John was instrumental in establishing the Academy of Urbanism (AoU), a not-for-profit organisation which now has over six hundred members, including the thriving Young Urbanists group. The AoU brings together the current and next generation of urban leaders, thinkers and practitioners to recognise, encourage and celebrate great places across the UK, Europe and beyond.

Throughout the years John has used his remarkable drive, influence and natural charisma to make a significant contribution to the lives of people across the UK and Europe. David Harrison, one of JTP’s founding partners and known as “Harry the Pencil”, collected the Lifetime Achievement Award on John’s behalf, and said:

“At JTP, with residential developers as clients, John persuaded many to adopt urban design principles and mixed use and even in some cases tenure blind projects, therefore adding vitality, diversity and much needed life to the urban environment.

John was unusual for his time in that although trained as an architect he had a passion for creating good places and saw placemaking as the core discipline in his work and visionary initiatives.

But what I think is the most remarkable thing about John was his ability to convincingly communicate these ideas not only to the hundreds of collaborators, including myself and some others present in this room this evening, but also to the literally thousands of so called “ordinary people” who attended JTP Community Planning Weekends at venues all around this country and overseas.”

The Caterham Barracks collaborative planning process features as one of the case studies in “20/20 Visions” along with this quote from John that encapsulates his philosophy:

“The essence of community planning is simple – all around us we are surrounded by people who have within themselves, whether they recognise it or not, a great wealth of common intelligence and knowledge. If we can tap that knowledge and intelligence we can enrich all the processes that we are involved in, we can bring about much better solutions and we can even involve the people in sustaining these solutions in the future.”

IAP2 Australasia leads call for 2020 to be declared UN International Year of Engagement

The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) are partnering to promote systematic, quality engagement of stakeholders and the public, to help governments and others who lead and design engagement processes to develop structured, well-planned and meaningful engagement.

IAP2 Australasia is working to submit a proposal for an International Year of Engagement and Public Participation.

To find out more click here