Redevelopment Negotiation: The Challenges of Rebuilding the World Trade Center

By — on / Teaching Negotiation


In the wake of the destruction of the World Trade Center more than 20 years ago in New York City, there were difficult questions and challenges facing those who were involved in the redevelopment negotiation. For instance, how do we build consensus around complex solutions when there are emotionally charged issues at stake?

The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a unique case package designed to teach these complex challenges in this redevelopment negotiation. The World Trade Redevelopment Negotiation simulation is inspired by the real redevelopment negotiation leading to the rebuilding of the Word Trade Center site. Also available is the Rebuilding the World Trade Center Site video, which shows a group of legal, business, and dispute resolution professionals negotiating the simulation.

World Trade Redevelopment Negotiation – Featured Simulation 

This six party, facilitated, redevelopment negotiation simulation is designed to illustrate the potential sources of value creation in negotiation, and the inherent tension between generating such value and distributing it to particular parties. It is also intended to show how highly charged, emotional issues can often intertwine with more traditional public policy questions. The participants must address four issues: the site plan, the timing of construction, the total money allocated for the project, and who gets the credit for the project. Major lessons include:

  • Highlighting the special difficulties of multiparty negotiation in the public arena, including the use of facilitation/ mediation in such situations.
  • To introduce participants to the dynamics of consensus building, particularly when there are emotionally charged issues at stake.
  • Bring the context of the World Trade Center redevelopment negotiation to participants’ attention, though this simulation is not intended to be a factual case study.
Rebuilding the World Trade Center Site – Featured Video 

This video shows a group of legal, business, and dispute resolution professionals negotiating the six-person, facilitated role simulation World Trade Center Redevelopment Negotiation.

The video includes three primary sections:

(1) An introduction which discusses the purposes of the exercise (primarily, to highlight the challenges associated with multi-party, multi-issue negotiations in the public arena), provides summary background information about the terrorist attacks on the World trade Center on September 11, 2001, describes the six roles and four issues to be negotiated in the World Trade Center Redevelopment Negotiation exercise, offers some preliminary observations about the dynamics of complex multiparty negotiation, and provides instructions for participating in the exercise.

(2) A demonstration of one group negotiating the World trade Center Redevelopment Negotiation exercise for the first time (Chapters 2 – 9; approximately 39 minutes). This negotiation is unscripted and unrehearsed. It has been edited for time, but every effort has been made to preserve the overall flow of the actual negotiation. This segment is particularly interesting because it frequently depicts simultaneous interactions, sometimes by using a split screen to show multiple participants in the same meeting, and sometimes by sequentially showing meetings of sub-groups of participants that actually occurred simultaneously.

(3) A debriefing of the exercise and a summary of the primary lessons (Chapters 10-11; approximately 14 minutes).

The video may be used for a number of purposes:

(1) For teachers or trainers interested in using the underlying role simulation exercise in their classes, the entire video can be used for self-study, as it demonstrates an effective approach to running and debriefing the exercise.

(2) For teachers or trainers who use the World Trade Center Redevelopment Negotiation exercise in their classes, the portion of the video showing one group negotiating the exercise (Chapters 2-9; approximately 39 minutes) can be used for purposes of comparison with the students’ own negotiation experiences.

(3) For teachers and trainers of mediation, facilitation, public disputes, and/or multiparty negotiation dynamics (such as process management, coalition building, and caucusing), either the entire video or the portion of the DVD showing one group negotiating the exercise (Chapters 2-9; approximately 39 minutes), can be used for demonstration and discussion purposes.

(4) For mediators, facilitators, urban planners, attorneys, executives who engage in complex negotiations, and/or anyone else interested in learning more about mediation, facilitation, public disputes, and/or multiparty negotiation dynamics (such as process management, coalition building, and caucusing), the entire DVD can be used for self-study purposes.

Check out the World Trade Redevelopment Negotiation and the Rebuilding the World Trade Center Site video for more information.


TNRC: A go-to resource for more than 25 years

In addition to offering more than 250 negotiation role-play simulations, the TNRC offers a wide range of effective teaching materials, including:

TNRC materials are designed for educational purposes. They are used in college classroom settings or corporate training settings; used by mediators and facilitators seeking to introduce their clients to a process or issue; and used by individuals who want to enhance their negotiation skills and knowledge.

Role-play simulations introduce participants to new negotiation and dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. Our videos, books, case studies, and periodicals are also a helpful way of introducing viewers to key concepts while addressing the theory and practice of negotiation and conflict management.

Check out all that the TNRC has in store >> 

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