Community Dispute Resolution Role-Play:

Open Lands A Private Planning Negotiation


Patrick Field, Ric Richardson, and John Harrison

Eight-person facilitated negotiation among seven landowners to develop voluntary private land-use plan to provide financial security while preserving open space and agricultural land


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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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 will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

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

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (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, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (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, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. 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.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

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 “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, 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 “Quantity.” 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.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


Home Valley is in the rural American West where ranching, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreations are the norm. Many changes are threatening the valley's traditional life. Newcomers are buying up the land, forcing up real estate prices, and making it more difficult to keep the land in agricultural production. The new land development often does not respect the wide open spaces and privacy of traditional land uses. Many ranchers' children are moving away, not interested in the financial risk and endless hard work that ranching entails. Some say that elk, deer, antelope, and other game habitats are shrinking in the face of the boom.

This negotiation is among seven local landowners, aided by a facilitator, who have gathered to develop a private land use plan. This effort does not involve government intervention or regulation. It would be a strictly voluntary agreement aimed at providing financial security while preserving open space and agricultural land.

The two main issues are the location of potential development in the valley, and the number of developable parcels per owner. In addition, each of the parties has a number of "tradable" items that they either want to secure from, or trade to, another party. These include viewsheds, hunting rights, grazing/haying leases, conservation easements, money, developable units, and trusts and partnerships.

This simulation offers participants a low-stakes, non-personalized, experiential means to explore the notion of private land use planning. At the very least, participants should gain a heightened awareness of how private negotiation among landowners can be applied in the real-life situations that many Western landowners are facing today.



Participants should gain a heightened awareness of how private negotiation among landowners can be applied in the real-life situations that many Western landowners are facing today. Key learning topics include private land planning, brokering common as well as individual agreements, integrating numerous parties' multiple interests into a shared agreement, coalition formation, and facilitation.



Facilities needed:

Large room with table with seating for 8. Flipchart, marker, large scale map of home valley, calculator.

Space for private breakouts.


Estimated Time Requirements:

Reading and preparation: 60 minutes

Negotiation: 120 minutes

Debrief: 50 minutes

Written evaluation: 10 minutes

Total: 4 hours



Teacher's Package (65 pages total) includes:

  • General Instructions
  • Confidential Instructions for landowner neighbors: L. Wealth, R. Hunt, C. County, P. Rights, L. Eagle, E. Taxes, and M. Sell; and for facilitator L. Trust
  • Teaching Note



Land use dispute resolution; agricultural negotiations; regional policy disputes; mobilization of civil society

Open Lands Attributes

Time required: 2-3 hours
Number of participants: 8
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: Facilitator
Scoreable: Yes
Teaching notes available: Yes