Negotiation for Planners [Module 1]

Negotiation for Planners starts with the recognition that urban planning processes engage a mix of public, private, and community stakeholders, diverse and often divergent in their interests and values, and unequal in their power to affect outcomes. This starting point raises several core questions: How should planners define their own interests and values in a particular planning process? What responsibility do they have, and what roles should they play, in working with others to clarify what is to be negotiated, and how the negotiation process should proceed? More concretely, what does it take to be an effective negotiator? And beyond negotiation, when and how can planners facilitate multi-stakeholder consensus on planning decisions?

This module is designed to introduce questions for the planner as negotiator, and to build students’ skills in negotiation, facilitation, and consensus building. It draws on principles and insights from interest-based and social-psychological approaches to negotiation. Much of the course work will be highly interactive, using role plays to test and develop negotiation and facilitation skills. We also will explore how power, rights, and perceptions of fairness and equity affect negotiation processes. We also will touch on the roles that culture and gender play in negotiation.

The instructors are experienced public issue facilitators and negotiation trainers. They will draw on their own case work and will ask students to use tools of negotiation analysis to consider cases of interest to them. At the end of the module, students should be able to prepare systematically for negotiation, practice effective value creating and value claiming moves at the table, assess the potential for multi-stakeholder consensus building in a particular situation, and identify key steps needed to initiate and facilitate a consensus building process.