For the development of democracy, a dialogue is needed. Dialogue that facilitates educating, sharing experience, enhancing competencies, creating and improving a political culture. Applying this principle to “city policy”, it is clear that it should be determined not only by city officials and professional politicians but also by active citizens and expert communities.
The “Urban Atelier” project seeks to drive the development of a trilateral dialogue between active representatives of civil society and expert communities in Russia, Germany and France. It is aimed at educating, sharing experience, enhancing competencies, creating and improving a political culture, while having Germany and France as perspectives and points of comparison. In October, project participants followed a route through Izhevsk – Ufa – Kazan in order to see and study the experience of existing projects of urban activism in Russia.
The project is aimed at exchanging experience among professionals in the field of participation in urban development projects in Russia. Participants are Russian specialists who implement the participatory design, planning, and design of public spaces, party budgeting, projects for the creation and development of urban communities. Such practices are aimed at changing the urban environment with the active and direct participation of the citizens themselves and are based on the realization of people’s right to the city.
From October 7 to 15, urban activists visited Izhevsk, Ufa, Kazan and several more small cities of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, to explore and discuss projects related to urbanism, landscaping and working with communities. The study visit was focused on complicity in urban development projects but included other aspects of urbanism (ecology, management, culture, activism). In addition to attending cases, discussion sessions are planned, as well as sharing experiences among participants (professionals working with the city and communities).
Dialogues on the Road: Following the Trail of Urban Participation Projects is a study-visit event that brought together participants in two programs for the exchange of experience between specialists in the field of modern urbanism (“Urban Atelier” and participatory planning (“Actors of Urban Dialogue”).
These programs help their participants to immerse themselves in current urban topics, communicate with professionals from different cities of Russia, expand their knowledge and methods of working with the city, learn about each other’s projects, find like-minded people and partners, enrich their own repertoire of actions aimed at improving the quality of the urban environment and the quality of life in Russian cities.
Participants – 30 specialists from 17 cities of Russia, who have numerous urban development projects, various projects and initiatives: participating in the design, planning, and design of public spaces, party budgeting, projects for the creation and development of urban communities. Such practices are aimed at changing the urban environment with the active and direct participation of the citizens themselves and are based on the realization of people’s right to the city.
As part of the study visit, the participants visited parks, embankments, public space development projects and cultural organizations in Izhevsk, Ufa, and Kazan, which were implemented with the use of participatory tools both within the framework of the federal program to create a comfortable urban environment and outside it; meet with those who invented and implemented these projects, discuss the processes, methodology and results.
Much about the trip can be read in the information booklet (in Russian): “Dialogues on the Road: In the Footsteps of Complicity Projects”.
The program was organized by CGE Culture Goes Europe-Soziokulturelle Initiative Erfurt e.V. (Erfurt), Pachenkov & Voronkova (St. Petersburg / Berlin) in partnership with Проектная gruppa 8, Институт razvitiya gorodov Bashkortostana, City Change Workshop ′′ Люди Delayut Mesto ′′ (Izhevsk), Foundation ′′ Institute of Urban Development of the Republic of Tatarstan ′′ with the support of the German Foreign Ministry