Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Managing Growth in Rockville

Armand Ciccarelli and Lawrence Susskind
Seven-person, multi-issue mediation among business, planning, environmental, and agricultural interests regarding growth management and comprehensive planning

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SCENARIO:

Over the past few years, the City of Rockville has undergone a period of significant growth, resulting in steadily decreasing unemployment and a high rate of immigration from other areas. Even greater levels of immigration are predicted over the next two to three years. Consequently, housing demand now surpasses supply and developers have begun purchasing large tracts of agricultural and forest land at the urban fringe in order to convert them for residential purposes. Already, a number of scattered residential developments have appeared. In addition, a representative of a regional “Superstore” has recently made inquiries about purchasing several tracts of property just outside of Rockville. It is predicted that a large scale commercial enterprise will soon be opening in the vicinity.

After extensive community-wide debate, the current Mayor of Rockville (Mayor Gale) has concluded that Rockville is in urgent need of a ‘master plan’ to guide sustainable growth. A number of groups have come forward to present their ideas on how (if at all) future growth should be managed. Unfortunately, no real progress has been made. As a result, Mayor Gale has retained the services of the nearby university’s dispute resolution center for the purpose of helping the community come to some consensus. Invited stakeholder representatives include an environmental lobby group, the alliance of local home builders, an association representing small business, the farming community, a town planner and a representative of the incoming ‘superstore’.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • The point of this game is to demonstrate how mediation and assisted negotiation techniques can be used to resolve growth management disputes.
  • This game explores the role of the mediator in a multi-party dispute concerning land use and growth management. The mediator’s primary role is to assist the players in packaging an agreement. He or she should help the stakeholders identify their real interests, their BATNAs and their willingness to make trade offs.
  • The mediator should also help to set ground rules and the agenda and ensure that all of the parties have an opportunity to speak. Since public disputes often involve complex, highly emotional issues, negotiations can run more smoothly with the help of an experienced mediator.
  • Joint gains are possible when the parties, in complex disputes, are willing to make trades across the issues on which the mediation process is focused. This is especially useful when the stakeholders value the issues differently.
  • In cases where the stakeholders value an issue in precisely the same way, negotiations tend to take on a “zero-sum” nature – more for one party equates with less for others. However, even under these constraints, issues can be reframed thereby allowing both sides to realize gains on aspects that are important to them.
  • Mediating land use disputes involves finding ways to attach and integrate facilitated face-to-face dialogue into the existing regulatory and administrative system.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

The Game Manager should send out the General Instructions to all players prior to the day on which the game is to be played. The Mediator role is particularly complex and it is important the Mediator be prepared well in advance of the simulation.

The mediation setting should involve one room set for seven with an additional separate room for a private caucus.

 

Estimated Time Requirements:

30 minutes – Introduction, Assignment of Roles, and Preparation

90 minutes – Negotiation

30 minutes – Debriefing

Total 2.5 hours

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all Parties:

  • General instructions
  • Map of Rockville

 

Role Specific Confidential Instructions for:

  • Homebuilders’ Association (D. Wong)
  • Rockville Farmers’ Grange (A. Delisi)
  • State Alliance for Nature Conservation (S. Moonbeam)
  • City of Rockville Small Business Association (T. Sanders)
  • Rockville City Planner (S. Young)
  • Representative of chain of “Superstores” (B. Bochs)
  • Mediator (R. Maccarone)

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Notes on logistics, debriefing and key teaching points
  • Supplementary material focusing on expected ‘key conflicts’

 

KEYWORDS:

Multi-party negotiation; negotiating sustainable development; mediation; mediation of land use disputes; resolution of land use and growth management disputes

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

Development Dispute at Menehune Bay

Hitana Bay Development Simulation

Humboldt: mediating a regional development dispute

Negotiated Development in Redstone

Residential Development in Tienhuizen

The Carson Extension (mediated version)

Urban Redevelopment in Maasdrecht

 

Managing Growth in Rockville Attributes

Time required:
2-3 hours
Number of participants:
7
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
Mediator
Scoreable:
Yes
Teaching notes available:
Yes
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.