In this participation method, which originated in the USA, an “advocate“ (not in the legal sense; usually a planner) gives ordinary citizens expert advice in planning matters, assists them and represents them before official bodies at communal and state level.
- for underpinning the interests of segments of the population in planning processes where the former have difficulty in expressing themselves, are socially disadvantaged or are simply not organized
- for ensuring that all segments of the population affected by a planning process are taken into account even-handedly
- for mediating between the everyday world of ordinary citizens and the perspective of experts
Sequence of events
In advocacy planning there is no set sequence of events. An advocacy planner’s main activities are informing ordinary citizens about planning issues, working out suggestions together with ordinary citizens, representing the latter before official bodies such as the city administration, promoting and chairing discussion processes, and so on.
Advocacy planning is mostly employed at local or regional level. Usually the advocacy planners are available throughout; examples of this are the local advice bureaus and the youth and environmental ombudsmen in Vienna.
Ordinary citizens, advocacy planners
Point to note
- Advocacy planning should not lead to ordinary citizens being pushed into passive rôles or treated like children; instead, it should help them to stand up for their own interests and should make it easier to compensate for possible discrimination.