Penticton Design Charrette


The City of Penticton is updating their Official Community Plan, and recently asked the MODUS’ Urban Design team to deliver a public lecture and help facilitate a week-long charrette. This work helped create new Design Guidelines using our engagement-led approach, and we worked closely with Scot Hein, Urban Design Professor (SFU, UBC), Cal Srigley, Placemaker and Frank Ducote, Urban Designer to help shape their city.


As part of this work, Penticton asked us to review and further develop a set of city-wide “form and character” Development Permit Area guidelines for seven different types of neighbourhood. The guidelines are intended to identify and strengthen Penticton’s best qualities and support the goals of the OCP.

Key considerations included:

  • The unique geographical context of Penticton as a “land bridge” between the Okanagan and Skaha Lakes to the north and south, and hillsides to the east and west. This context focuses planning efforts on densifying existing neighbourhoods.

  • The wide array of Development Permit Area categories (7) to be addressed in the charrette: Intensive Residential, Multifamily Residential, Commercial & Mixed-Use, Downtown, Hillside and Heritage neighbourhoods.

  • The need to listen to many voices including residents, stakeholder groups, and city staff so as to distill a unified vision of the “Essence of Penticton”.


We gathered community and stakeholder input through a bus tour, a public forum, a stakeholder workshop, OCP Task Force meetings, and staff meetings.


This collaborative and creative process guided the development of big ideas and key directions for the first set of draft Design Guidelines. These translate the “essence of Penticton” into specific strategies to guide future development.  Following the charrette, the key design directions were presented, and feedback gathered at the Saturday Farmer’s Market.

Involving community members to collectively identify big ideas and key directions from the beginning of the project is key to  MODUS’ Engagement-Led Design approach. We believe this approach will result in context-sensitive, well-supported, and ultimately successful guidelines.