Community Planning and Design Charrette program

Does your downtown, or perhaps a significant neighborhood in your community, need a change?  Perhaps more walkable, or appealing?  Is there too much through traffic – or not enough?  Maybe you want to make it more lively, or make it once again the place that says “This is my town.”

A Plan NH community charrette may be the assistance you need.

A Plan NH charrette brings together diverse professionals to brainstorm recommendations to address challenges a community faces.  Over a two-day period, the team visits the “target area” (eg, downtown or significant neighborhood), talks with community leaders and members, and develops recommendations based on what they have seen and heard and also on their own professional knowledge of ideas and trends that could contribute to healthy and vibrant communities.

Since the first Plan NH charrette saved the Belmont Mill in 1996, Plan NH has conducted over 60 charrettes in Granite State communities of all sizes.  Some examples of outcomes:

  • In Center Ossipee, a park was created that has become a popular gathering place for locals and summer visitors alike.
  • In Franconia, Plan NH looked at ways to re-design the busiest part of the main street when it was dug up for water and sewer repairs.
  • In Greenfield, the town is taking a new look at its zoning ordinances in the town center – both to encourage infill and to create more housing opportunities, especially in larger homes
  • In Hanover, the town has taken a fresh approach to safety on one of its busiest roads – and a fresh approach to having decent, affordable housing,
  • In Enfield, there had been a long-time issue that was adjacent to our project. With all the focus on our project, the issue was re-defined and essentially became a non-issue.  “All who would benefit, or suffer, from a resolution were at the charrette, being heard, and hearing the choices.”
The biggest impact we have had, however, is in the many communities where, we are told, we have brought diverse people together in a facilitated dialog to talk together about the future of their community.
  • “I had no idea others felt the same way I do”, we heard in Pittsfield.
  • “This was the first time those two groups sat down and talked, ” said a participant in Franklin.
  • “I thought this would be a big waste of time, ” we heard more than once, from (we found out later)  traditional naysayers.  “But I was wrong.  I had no idea it would turn out the way it did.”

In 2017, we conducted community design charrettes in Wilton, Somersworth and Kensington.

Applications are reviewed as received, on a rolling basis.

 For more information, go here:
 The Plan NH Community Design Charrette Program and Application materials.