This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the benefits of participatory and democratic planning and placemaking through charrettes. Its timing was inspired by the fiftieth anniversary in 2017 of the first American Institute of Architects Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team. The book deals with a historical overview of the development and use of charrette methodologies, which began in the US and then spread internationally. It describes a charrette methodology in order to make clear its fundamental simplicity, but also the need for careful and inclusive organisation. The book also deals with a selection of post-charrette follow-on scenarios, all-important in maintaining momentum and continuing community involvement in actually delivering and managing the project. It focuses on twenty diverse international case studies, which include UK and international examples of charrettes, with some involving John Thompson & Partners and others led by practices from around the world.