The first public session in a weeklong design charrette focused on a downtown development that brings together innovation, design, entrepreneurship and the arts, will be held tonight.

The charrette – a series of intensive planning sessions for citizens, designers and others to collaborate on a vision for design – is specifically to help the city formulate a plan for the IDEA Commons. One recommendation for the IDEA Commons Plan is to adopt a form-based code zoning district, according to a city news release. These districts encourage mixed-use development and active streets that allow for alternative modes of transportation, such as walking, bicycling and public transit.

Tonight’s session will be 6:30–8:30 p.m. in the third-floor community room at Butler, Rosenbury & Partners, 319 N. Main Ave. and will introduce the Idea Commons Plan and the form-based code.

The first of two stakeholder design sessions – open by invitation only for property owners in the IDEA Commons and members of the architecture, design and development communities, will be 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sept. 1 in Butler, Rosenbury’s community room. That event also will include a walking tour of the IDEA commons and intense design activity focused on four or five specific sites. During the second design session, design teams will present their projects for comments from other participants.

A second public session will be an open house 6–9 p.m. Sept. 3 at 331 S. Campbell Ave., the former Well-Fed Head bookstore. This session, held during First Friday Art Walk, will give people the opportunity to comment on design ideas generated during stakeholder design sessions.

The final public session, 6:30–8:30 p.m. in the Butler, Rosenbury community room, will comprise a presentation of design recommendations for the IDEA Commons, the release said.

For other design news, including the fall installment of the Project Report, see In Focus: Architects & Engineers, in the Sept. 6 edition of Springfield Business Journal.