Strategic Urban and Marine Planning


Echlin Planning Advisory (EPA) is an independent freelance urban planning consultancy based in Lucerne, Switzerland specializing in strategic framework planning, urban policy planning, coastal, marine and waterfront planning with the ability to team and collaborate globally. Services include site analysis, programme development and management, workshop facilitation, strategic and policy framework planning, marine spatial planning, coastal adaptation planning, urban design, master planning and project management. EPA is seeking opportunities for international development project collaboration and/or leadership.


EPA capabilities include strategic planning, coastal and marine spatial planning, urban planning and urban design, land-water access planning, design guidelines, development control regulations and zoning code, design review, open space design, architectural design, interior design, integrated design process (IDP), sustainability analysis and programming, leading and coordinating project teams, project scoping, concept visioning, design optioning, hand-sketching, workshop organization and facilitation, business development and marketing, brand development, client representation, public speaking, and public policy development.

John Echlin

M.Arch, NCARB, LEED AP, Estidama PQP


John Echlin is an architect, urban designer and urban planner with over 30+ years’ experience in North America, Europe and the Middle East in both the private and public sectors. He has performed as an effective team leader and collaborator at Director, Principal and Senior-Manager levels and has been a frequent public speaker, workshop and conference facilitator.


John’s key expertise is in strategic planning, coastal waterfront planning, urban redevelopment, land-water access plans, high-density mixed-use development master plans, creating complete and walkable communities with human-scaled street and open-space design, facilitating an integrated design approach and delivering sensible plot-development controls and regulations.


He has particular interest in developing coastal adaptation strategies, and environmentally responsive and culturally sensitive design and collaboration. John is an accomplished architect with over $350mil in completed buildings, including award-winning and LEED Certified buildings that comprise mixed-use residential, office, higher education, hotels and historic adaptive re-use projects.


"As an international expert on marine spatial planning, I worked with John intermittently for about three years (2014-16) through the principal consulting firm (CH2M Hill) to the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council on the Plan Maritime 2030.

John was the UPC Team Leader for the delivery of the plan.

He was a tireless reviewer who paid attention to the details of the plan and at the same time had a strategic perspective of its ultimate purpose. His review and vision had an major effect on the direction of the final plan—the first marine spatial plan in the Arab world and now among the best marine spatial plans in the world.

John is an exceptionally experienced, creative and talented professional in coastal, marine and waterfront planning." 

Charles Ehler

President, Oceans Visions Consulting



"Echlin is a storm of energy and wisdom.

I worked with him in Abu Dhabi Maritime Plan 2030 where his leadership and knowledge drove the project to its final destination. He has the attitude "nothing is impossible". His ability to manage different stakeholders and solve conflicts were the key to create adoptable plans and national policies.

He is the expert I wish to work with again." 

Ibrahim Al Hmoudi

Grand Strategy, Urban Planning, Transport Planning, EFQM, Special Projects Manager at Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council



"As a client representative, I have known John since 2009 when we worked on Abu Dhabi's Lulu Island and Navy Base master plans. As UPC's planning manager reviewing our master plans, John has shown exceptional leadership, management, stakeholder and planning skills. He listened and understood our interest, and guided us in achieving a plan that works for both the city and our development company. I really admire John's work in leading Abu Dhabi's Plan Maritime 2030 policy, which I think is a benchmark for all other coastal Gulf Arab cities.

A highly recommended and professional urban planner." 

Amin Rasidi

Waterfront and Tourism Planning Expert, History Enthusiast, Master Planner and Architect



"As Senior Consultant - Maritime to the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport I was fortunate enough to have enjoyed a very close working relationship with John in the development of Plan Maritime 2030.

As Project Manager, John was always open to both technical input on maritime transport, waterways management and port related matters and to suggestions made to enhance both the content and structure of Plan Maritime.

As a consequence, I can strongly recommend John in the future delivery of coastal, marine and and waterfront planning projects."

 Chris Dayton

Independent Maritime Consultant



"John was a key stakeholder of AGEDI since his arrival at UPC. His technical and strategic input and guidance

as well as his professionalism and openness of incorporating science into policy making

made a critical difference to our projects and our work.

We had the privilege of garnering his advice and working with him on several large scale projects on blue carbon, ecosystem services and climate change vulnerability and adaptation issues.

Through his advice we were also able to create a coastal vulnerability inspector which was geared for use by planners.

Thank-you John and we hope that we will again have the privilege of working with you in the future." 

Jane C. Glavan

AGEDI Partnerships Manager



"I have worked with John Echlin for over 2 years at the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council as a Planning Professional working on the completion and implementation of Plan Maritime 2030. 

During this time, John provided me with highly challenging opportunities for professional growth, technical development, possibilities for public speaking, presentations to leadership and work on difficult and complex planning issues to solve and report on. John brightened my thoughts and encouraged me to set ambitious objectives to develop

my personal and planning skills. John was a great supporter for my career,

I don't see John as an advisor, rather a great leader. 

John demonstrated great patience and personal attention as a mentor, especially this being my first job immediately after college, with his thorough urban planning knowledge and experience, ability to think from different angles, ability to lead a team and complex projects and how to use different tools to manage tasks and projects. 

John has truly established a robust foundation for my future career, I owe him a lot for spending his time to build a better Hamad. His honesty and continuous support provided great lessons that I am carrying today.

I would strongly look forward to work with John again!"

Hamad Al Awadhi

Associate Projects Manager at Smart Dubai Office



EPA Profile
A. EPA Profile.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 7.5 MB