Designing collaboration and participatory planning methods is not an easy (neither fast) task. It requires constant dialogue among the organizers, understanding of the needed elements to better inform the dynamic of the process, and strong people connections; there are no shortcuts.
I had a great recent opportunity to help Habitat for Humanity Chicago to design and co-lead their kick-off charrette in Greater Grand Crossing, Chicago South Side. HFHC has been working for over three years in West Pullman, in the Far South Side of Chicago, and strategically searching through the work of their Site Selection Committee for the neighborhood where to expand their affordable housing project sites. For this charrette, we gathered participants from architecture, urban design and planning communities, as well as neighborhood organizations and residents and city-wide stakeholders to brainstorm and plot collaboratively design and planning opportunities for the neighborhood and its healthy future. Experts had a chance to listen from residents; residents had a chance to work alongside with their community organizations; organizations (including Habitat) had a chance to learn from both experts and residents.
This is just the beginning, a process milestone and a big statement: Habitat has started to enable its own platform to help building a stronger neighborhood. Looking forward to helping with the next steps.
All photos: Zoki Zoran