|Ph.D Student||Vranesky Ariela|
|Subject||Conflict Management in Urban and Regional Planning: the|
Applicability of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Approaches with Specific Reference to
National Highway Planning
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Rachelle Alterman|
Planning in all societies involves the management of multiple and complex conflicts. In the Israeli planning context conflict management takes on an even greater importance given the deep social and political cleavages existing in Israeli society. Over the past few years, the surge of development combined with great uncertainties has made the conflicts more extreme, and have emphasized the need for developing new processes and methodologies to deal with them.
The goal of this dissertation is to synthesize knowledge of conflict resolution approaches as it applies to urban and regional planning generally and to road planning specifically. Conflict characteristics and dispute resolution techniques have been researched within many disciplines. Urban and regional planning conflicts have also been studied but the amount of existing research is limited. In Israel it is non-existent.
The research includes:
- The development of a typology of conflict characteristics in planning and of ways of dealing with them.
- Interviews with 132 decision-makers and professionals concerning conflicts in Israeli planning, current ways of handling them and the propensity to adopt new approaches.
- Four case studies of road planning (regional and national), with a focus on how the planning
system currently addresses the complex conflicts which have arisen from in these cases.
- Evaluation of the existing situation and assessment of proposed changes aimed to produce better outcomes for the stakeholders and for the plans.
Our findings show that the statutory planning system is often called upon to handle tough conflicts. The existing system is partially successful in reaching some resolution to these conflicts and allowing development to go forth. However, the price of existing procedures is often very long delays (and costs) - 15- 40 years in our 4 case studies of national roads. Our opinion survey results indicate a strong dissatisfaction on the part of planners and other experts with the manner in which the current system handles conflicts and the price borne by many publics. Yet when asked about the capacity of the existing system to learn and adopt new ways of resolving disputes, most interviewees expressed strong optimism.
In view of these findings, we develop three levels of recommendations: First, general organizational and institutional changes that could help mitigate situations of imbalance among interest groups; second, improvement of existing procedures for plan approval so as to facilitate dispute management in particular plans, with an emphasis of intervention in the early stages and an attempt to substitute mediation and facilitation for current adversarial modes of hearing objections; and third, a focus on building conflict-resolution skills among planning professional and other decision makers.