— Introduction Sustainable development of today’s city is impossible without finding the right balance between the interests of different stakeholders. Citizens, communities, and especially the most vulnerable and disenfranchised of them, should not only be heard, but should also understand the underlying reasons of city changes and be able to respond to them in the professional language of urban planning. The facilitation of a more balanced decision-making system in cities can be done by advocacy planners. Their goal is to stand out as independent experts, mediate urban conflicts, reveal unrepresented or infringed interests and, working together with its’ holders, provide professional support. Advocacyplanning.com is creating a new paradigm of such practices. The first step in this initiative is to jump start several small scale pilot projects in different parts of the world. With the experience earned from the pilot projects, specific cases will be able to settle their own advocacy planning institution that can function on a local scale focusing on the existing context, but also collaborate and add to the collective knowledge.
— Why Advocacy Planning? Inspired by Paul Davidoff’s vision regarding professional commitment to vigorous advocacy on behalf of the less fortunate members of society, Advocacy Planning Group was formed, an international and multidisciplinary team aimed at promoting greater urban justice via professional expertise, advocacy and mediation services. The Advocacy Planning Group’s main task is mediating between the interests of various groups, populations, businesses and governments through professional and constructive communication between all parties, aiming for a more rational, fair and forward looking urban planning proposal. Our objective is to identify and represent the interests of vulnerable communities, minorities, emerging/displaced communities or any group under social vulnerability in relation with top-down urban planning and development, through educational, participatory and inclusive processes that mixes both bottom up desires with top down interests. The participatory planning character, even though it is highly inclusive towards vulnerable communities, is not solely focused on the marginalized groups, but rather the interests entire population of citizens and authorities.
— Our Values The Advocacy Planning group runs on a common set of values that guides the initiative: ▪ Interdisciplinary views ▪ Democratic participation and democratic responsibility ▪ Independent professional expertise ▪ Conservation of resources ▪ Efficiency ▪ Equity ▪ Pluralism and individuality ▪ Social skills / communicative action ▪ Conservation of resources ▪ Rational management ▪ Full transparency of work process / open source model ▪ Education and community empowerment ▪
— Project Strategy Upon choosing a relevant site for the Advocacy Planning intervention, the next step is to create a network of experts in disciplines that are case-specific. In parallel a process of immersive data gathering takes place in order to better frame the issues and produce an initial context report that identifies the vulnerable communities. All actions are take by forming an alliance with the community and organisations involved in the said community. Advocacy planning and its allies aim to act through a constant process of raising awareness, engaging citizens and educating them towards community empowerment, thus being capable of creating proposals born from participatory processes and set the grounds for a more balanced, community-based decision-making system. A crucial point in our strategy of implementation is the complete involvement of locals, both organisations and members of the community, as well as local professionals and experts that have a deeper understanding of the context.
— Deliverables ▪ Community scale urban-education and empowerment strategy
▪ Non-biased report on social and urban context
▪ Community-based plan / proposal generated through fully transparent participative and inclusive process
▪ Guidelines for mediation / advocacy planning practices
▪ Empowered communities of local citizens and professionals
▪ Higher transparency of local urban decision-making processes
▪ Creation of “library of advocacy planning cases worldwide”
— Sharing knowledge Every step of the process, from the choosing of the project site to the proposal to be implemented will be thoroughly documented and presented in the form of Phase Reports. These reports, along with data, footage and other documents are meant to be open to all public and can be viewed on our website.In parallel with focusing on selected projects, it is important for us that our own constant learning process is shared with the public. Thus, we are proposing the creation of an open library of previous studies, project and articles, as a resource database for all groups and initiatives similar to our own. This library will also be accessed through our website.
— Strategic Goals Mediation Facilitation of balanced decision-making system / Cooperative urban governance in cities:

· Avoiding/mediation of conflicts caused by urban planning decisions, urban projects, or conflicting interests
· Identifying unavoidable /natural/ conflicts in urban environment (local vs. city-wide interests and the like)
· Create a working concept of urban masterplan as a movable compromise
Advocacy Professional representation of minorities / disenfranchised groups in urban planning process and urban conflicts:

· Revealing non-represented interests, or latent interests that may manifest themselves under certain circumstances
· Introduction of professional opinion based competition in urban planning processes
· Introduction of lean planning concept as debates-based process
Participatory Action Empowerment of communities through education and participatory work. Open source model Creating scalable advocacy and mediating technology / “open source code of cooperative urban governance” and throgh it create open global network structure for advocacy and mediating practices (i.e. institutional design).
Areas of Interest The Advocacy Planning Group is focused on any community across the globe that has been identified as discriminated in the process of urbanisation, with a major focus on developing countries and regions with a historical top-down only ap-proach, with a focus on Central and South America, Eastern Europe and Africa.
The Advocacy Planning Founders The Advocacy Planning team is formed of architects, urban planers, geographers and philosophers, bound together by a common vision and all with experience in tangent initiatives, from political campaigns to humanitarian project. We are always looking to expand the group with new members and partners that share our values.
Alexei Novikov [Ru] Moscow, Russia
Alexei Novikov holds a PhD in Geography from the Academy of Science of the Russian Federation. His dissertation was on the topic of regional economics and fiscal federalism. He is also a president and co-founder of Habidatum, an international company assisting urban planners, businesses and professional experts in understanding the hyper-dynamic urban environment. Alexei is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Urban Economics. Prior to his work at HSE GSU Alexei was managing director at Thomson Reuters and head of the representative office of Standard & Poor’s in Russia and the CIS. He was representing the companieS interests in the financial and business communities,industry groups and in dealings with the state and regulating bodies in Russia and the CIS. In the 1990s, Alexei Novikov was a consultant for the Analytical Centre of the President of the Russian Federation in relation to federalism, regional economics and local governance. Alexei Novikov has written extensively on topics of urban economics. He was one of the authors of the research about Moscow periphery, Archaeology of the Periphery (chapter Balancing the Economy of an Unbalanced City).Alexei has lectured and participated in research projects at Oxford University (UK), Birmingham University (UK), the Florida International University (USA), and the Higher School of Economics (Russia), among others.
Ruxandra Iancu Bratosin [Ro] Barcelona, Spain
Ruxandra Iancu Bratosin studied architecture in Bucharest, Romania after which she took the Masters in Advanced Architecture program in the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunia | IAAC. During the Masters Program her first year project was related to global water stress in the Self Sufficient Buildings studio with Enric Ruiz Geli (Could9). Her second year thesis,”Genius-Ghetto”, that was aiming to tackle social distress in the neighbourhood of Ciudad Meridiana, Barcelona, with self-sufficiency strategies, was given the “Thesis of Excellence” award. Ruxandra is also a graphic designer and a painter, and toys with different manners of artistic expression. Her works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale 2016 as part of the Russian Pavilion. Her skills don't limit to advanced architecture tools, but include animation, video-editing and cartography and she is always looking for ways to blend these worlds together. She has been active in the academic field as well, assisting the Prototype for the Self Sufficient City studio course, part of the Masters in City and Technology Program in IAAC, with Vicente Guallart and Rodrigo Rubio, the 2nd Year Individual Thesis Program in the Masters in Advanced Architecture in IAAC and the Self Sufficient Buildings Studio with Enric Ruiz Geli. Most recently she was a Junior Professor to the Slow Crisis Seminar, as part of the Masters in Advanced Architecture in IAAC. After working in several small studios, Ruxandra was also a partner architect at Margen-Lab Barcelona (2014-2016) where she was actively involved in several multi-scale projects in Spain and abroad, dealing with projects related with digital fabrication, environmental analysis and adaptation, sustainability and self-sufficiency. Between oct 2015 - oct 2016 she was the Coordinator for the Project for the Self Sufficient City Department, led by Vicente Guallart, within the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona. Integral part of her time is dedicated to humanitarian projects. She co-founded the The Hidra Project, an ongoing humanitarian project focusing on issues of Guinea-Bissau, that has broad applications beginning with issues like water safety training for the locals and ending with jumpstarting micro-economies in the small villages. The project is now taking a strong social character and promises to bring more attention to Guinea-Bissau. In an effort to aid disenfranchised communities, she founded the Advocacyplanning.com initiative. In november 2016 she co-founded BASICS Architecture and became Vice-President of BASICS Association.
Contact us
contact@advocacyplanning.com Bringing together top-down projects with bottom up interests for a more balanced and fair decision making system.