Fueled by coffee and bagels, Harrison neighbors design their own community


January 9 & 10, 2009 –

Harrison Neighborhood Association and the American Institute of Architects gathered maps, markers, rolls of tracing paper, coffee and piles of bagels to conduct their third Neighborhood Design Charrette. These idea-generating sessions lead to improvements such as the removal of/future uses for an abandoned gas station, and long-term vision and development near an exit off of 394 at Van White Memorial Boulevard. This third Charrette concentrated on the potential at the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Morgan.

The process takes a few Friday night hours and most of the day on Saturday. Architects and neighbors alike pitched in to generate design documents which will inform future developers of the neighborhood’s dreams and their enthusiasm for the process.

“I appreciated Saturday’s design Charrette as an authentically democratic and collaborative process. It’s inspiring to have neighbors, business owners, nonprofit and church stakeholders come together and identify common vision for the future of our community. Exciting!” said Karis Thompson, Director, Strategic Advancement at Redeemer Center for Life.

Redeemer Lutheran Church hosted the Saturday portion of this Charrette in their community space. Redeemer is a property owner at one of the corners of Glenwood and Morgan.

The word Charrette is French from the 19th Century for “cart” or “chariot.” Architectural students continued to work to the last minute, on their design presentations. These presentations were delivered in the school cart – en charrette – through the streets of Paris. Students often rode the carts en route to submit the projects to their professors. The modern design-related usage relates to working right up until the deadline.

Pat Carney participated in the Charrette as a business owner on Glenwood Avenue, a member of the Glenwood Avenue Revitalization Group and in the service of Northside Marketing Task Force.