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October 6th Charrette
October 6th Charrette: Caspar returns to its planning roots
Four years ago the community of Caspar started to plan for its future when much of the real estate in the village was put up for sale. Since then the town's successes include the formation of the non-profit organization, The Caspar Community, and the acquisition of the town's coastal headlands for public ownership. The town's chief advisor in the early days was Randy Hester, professor of Community Design at the University of California, Berkeley.
On Sunday, October 6th, Hester will return to Caspar to continue the planning process as he guides an afternoon-long design workshop "to design the town from the center out." The event will be held, starting at 3:00 PM in another one of the community's triumphs, the recently acquired Caspar Community Center. All community members and interested north coasters are invited and encouraged to attend.
According to Michael Potts, who has been organizing the event, "there will be a 2:00 PM workshop before the charrette to give those who have not followed Caspar's recent planning process closely a chance to catch up. At three o'clock, we'll plunge right into planning for the next hundred years."
Hester has defined the purpose of the workshop thusly: "To envision precisely how people wish the new Community Center to be, to work and to feel, from the details of postal boxes, sitting in the sun with friends and newsing at the town center, to larger issues of building footprints and location, parking, circulation, and design guidelines."
With the help of doctoral candidate Bill Eisenstein and other students from Berkeley, Hester will lead the meeting on a series of exercises to help define the wishes of the residents for the way their future village will look and function. At times the attendees will break into smaller groups for fast and furious brainstorming. Local architects will be on hand to participate in these discussions. The process, known in the architectural community as a "charrette," often produces many useful ideas in a short period of time.
The process will continue after Sunday's meeting as Eisenstein and the other students continue research in the town and then create a graphic summary of community priorities for creating the town center. This report will be presented to a future meeting of the Caspar Community for further discussion.
Hester is taking time out from a book-writing project to lead this charrette because of his continued interest in Caspar, which he feels has found a uniquely successful way to achieve governance without the inconvenience of government.
The meeting will be followed by a potluck dinner, to allow Casparados time to socialize and continue the conversation about community-building.
As always, the Caspar website, at CasparCommons.org , has the latest news about the charrette and other doings in Caspar.
written by Jerry Juhl for the Mendocino Beacon, October 3rd 2002
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