Neighborhood Masterplanning & Charrette for Lawrence Community Works – Lawrence, MA
Sorensen Partners was Charrette Facilitator and Masterplanner for Lawrence Community Works in 2013 to assist residents of the North Common Neighborhood in Lawrence, MA in setting development goals for improving physical community amenities – including housing, public buildings, and parks. The planning process was funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.
We designed an 8 by 8 foot map and game pieces for participants to add input to the map based on where they want to see physical and policy improvements take place.
Our first charrette was held at Lawrence Community Works and included participants from the neighborhood and city government.
Working with Lawrence Community Works’ Community Organizers, we mounted the map to a truck and brought it to multiple locations in the North Common Neighborhood so we could interact directly with residents.
North Common Neighborhood Planning Charrette, Lawrence, MA. Sorensen Partners designed and printed an 8-foot by 8-foot map of the North Common section of Lawrence, MA and held bilingual (English and Spanish) Q&A sessions with roundtable groups where participants were encouraged to develop improvement ideas and document them on 5X5-inch cards. Participants could then tack their ideas directly onto the map in the locations (blocks, intersections, etc.) they wanted the improvements to occur. The map was large-scale so people could all interact with it at the same time. The scale of the blocks was large enough that people could place their comments precisely in a location. We mounted the map on a truck so that it could be driven around to different neighborhoods where the facilitators would spend a few hours at a time interacting with passers-by to solicit their input. By bringing the map to people, we had more interactions with people who were “typical” community members, rather than people who are interested enough in a topic to spend several hours at a dedicated community meeting. The community charrette was conducted in 2013, through a grant from MA DHCD given to Neighborhood Development Corporation Lawrence Community Works (LCW). LCW hired Sorensen Partners as its consultant to fulfill the grant. LCW community engagement representatives, and public officials including Mayor Dan Rivera, interacted with the public alongside Sorensen Partners staff. Our work was summarized in a table of findings that was used by LCW to produce final recommendations and a report to DHCD.