Are there any alternatives to the traditional project approach? Is it always necessary to allocate roles so that project leaders assign tasks to their subordinates, while the latter implement the objectives? How can we escape hierarchy and allow each participant unleash their potential? Is lateral exchange of knowledge and skills possible? Who needs this and why? How does it work and when doesn't it?

Having initiatives on urban public spaces as an example, we tested peer-to-peer approach (P2P), its opportunities, advantages and limitations. Our project is focused on urban waterfront spaces, where various interests collide, creating both problems and potential.


  • knowledge that we gained while learning about projects on public waterfront spaces in Berlin and Hamburg;
  • experience that we obtained through discussing German cases, comparing them with the cases in our cities, and later completing our own collaborative Workshop in Saint Petersburg.
  • our conclusions regarding P2P-approach as applied to urban environments as well as informal education for urban activists.
The Russian-German project Urban Dialog (Stadt im Dialog) was launched in 2016, supported by a grant from Auswärtiges Amt, Deutschland (Federal Foreign Office, Germany). As part of the project, urban activists from Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Samara, and Khabarovsk learned to interact with city dwellers, officials, and businesspeople and implement their projects together while taking their interests into account.

In 2017, the project was continued under the title Dialog by the Water. This was the participants' effort to create an alternative to formal education based on exchange of experience according to the 'peer-to-peer' principle.

Through open competition, 12 winning participants with different competences were selected from St.Petersburg, Moscow, Arkhangelsk, Yekaterinburg, Ufa and Kazan. The participants created and tested a program based on the P2P approach. In the summer of 2017 in Germany, they learned about various waterfront-related projects in Berlin and Hamburg.

The workshop in Saint Petersburg took place in the beginning of September on two waterfront territories — Kanonersky island and the embankment of Karpovka river. The participants and those who joined the workshop tested the P2P method in action, learning to apply this principle to the work with urban spaces.

As a result, the participants of the project developed their own understanding of P2P and its role in initiatives affecting the transformations of urban environment.


How we understand it
How to implement Р2Р approach in projects of transformation of urban public space.
31 JUNE - 7 JULY 2017
Projects by the water and on the water in Berlin and Hamburg.
The way we applied P2P approach to the by water areas in St. Petersburg.
The project is implemented with the support of
Auswärtiges Amt, Deutschland (Federal Foreign Office, Germany).
  • CULTURE GOES EUROPE (CGE) – Soziokulturelle Initiative Erfurt e.V.
    Non-profitable NGO founded in 2005 and run by young professionals who design and implement creative non-formal educational projects for young people.
  • CISR was founded in 1991. Today its focus is on social research, educational events, development of collaborative networks as well as expertise and advising in social sciences. CISR has been included in the roster of non-commercial organizations, performing the function of a "foreign agent" by the decision of the Ministry of Justice (Federal Act No.7 On Non-Commercial Organizations).
  • International and interdisciplinary network that brings together academic urban studies, art and practice. Engaging academics, artists and activists from various cities, it creates a platform for investigating various geographical and political contexts.

    Eszter Gantner and Ayse Erek, members of TACT, acted as consultants on the project, helping the participants to comprehend the role of urban interventions.
  • Interdisciplinary platform for urban studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin. GSZ was established with the involvement of geographical, ethnological and sociological departments of the university. The Center conducts urban policy and planning studies.
  • Zafar Saydaliev
  • Ammalia Podlaszewska
  • Jhon Mateo-Magkilat Jessie
  • Oleg Pachenkov
  • Lilia Voronkova
  • Grigori Grigoriev
  • Daniiar Iusupov
  • Olga Mnishko
  • Eszter Gantner
  • Ayse Erek
  • Anja Fritz
  • Nike Kraft
  • Antje Stokman
  • Amelie Rost
  • Nadezhda Snigireva
  • Dmitry Smirnov
  • Olga Poliakova
  • Viktoriia Chufarova
  • Marina Tcai
  • Olga Pridorogina
  • Artem Gilmanov
  • Viktoriia Brodskaia
  • Irina Pavlova
  • Vladislav Dreko
  • Aleksandra Katasonova
  • Iullia Faizrakhmanova
  • Dmitrii Moskvin

  • Polina Karakulina

  • Vasilii Katasonov
  • Ilia Sevastianov
  • Irina Zhohova
  • Vitalii Esipov
  • Ruslan Sabirov
  • Iuliana Morgun
  • Nikita Afanasiev
  • Maksim Sergeev
  • Arthur Goreev
  • Gulnaz Nizagmatulina
  • Ilya Levashev
  • Alexandra Kovshova


Oleg Pachenkov, Lilia Voronkova, Daniiar Iusupov, Vladislav Dreko, Viktoriia Chufarova, Olga Poliakova, Olga Pridorogina, Aleksandra Katasonova, Polina Karakulina, Artem Gilmanov, Vladislav Dreko, Ilia Sevastianov, Viktoriia Brodskaia, Irina Pavlova, Marina Tcai

PHOTOGRAPHS BY: Jhon Mateo-Magkilat Jessie, Dmitry Smirnov, Vladislav Dreko, Olga Mnishko, Ruslan Sabirov

VIDEO BY: Vasilii Katasonov, Vladislav Dreko

Viktoria Brodskaya, Anastasia Daur

SITE DESIGN BY: Olga Pridorogina