Green Communities Charrettes

Ideally, the charrette is one of the first meetings held in order to set goals before any decisions are made. This is due to the fact that, "programming and building specification in early design phases determine up to 80% of the environmental pollution as well as the building operation costs." (Prediction and optimization of life-cycle costs in early design, Ulrich Bogenstatter, Building Research & Information (2000)). In practice, many affordable housing projects are in design before the charrette is held. This is due in part to the fact that funding applications for the project require a schematic plan. Regardless of what phase of design the project is in, all projects can benefit from the structured goal setting and scenario planning done at a charrette. A key component is to bring together the entire development team. Include the owner, developer, architect, energy modelers, mechanical engineers, sustainability experts and other stakeholders to build joint understanding of the project goals. The charrette team should take a holistic and total-systems approach to the development and design process. CSBR adjusts its process project to fit the stage of design and team aspirations, sometimes focusing on very specific systems to advance sustainable goals.

Recent Charrette Projects
AEON: A New Shade of Green (McKnight Foundation)
Blue Earth County: Breckenridge Townhomes Charrette. (Enterprise)
Project for Pride and Living: Touchstone Mental Health Charrette. (Enterprise)
Orness Plaza Charrette. (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation)
Worthington: New Castle Townhomes Charrette. (Enterprise)


A planning meeting to identify and clarify developer goals regarding the project. This meeting will also assist in coordination efforts, stakeholder and team identification, and schedules prior to the charrette.

Deliverable: a charrette agenda including duties of participants

The charrette can take many forms. It can be a full day event, bringing together stakeholders and the integrated project team to kick-off design work for a project, or multiple half-day events. The session will be divided into several tasks aimed at building joint understand regarding the project goals and approach. It will include a project briefing by the team, goal setting for green initiatives (utilizing the Green Communities Criteria as template), brainstorming solutions based on current information, scenario planning, and establishment of next steps.

Deliverable: a charrette report containing articulated goals, updated Green Communities Criteria template, next steps, and action items for team members

Follow-up meetings after the charrette to check in on project planning and progress toward goals set during the charrette. The first of these meetings will be a presentation of information gathered by the team since the charrette. This information will be discussed and decisions will be made regarding direction of the project. A second follow-up meeting will be set to check in with the team on progress during the design phase of the project.

Deliverable: meeting minutes containing articulated goals, next steps, and action items for team members