Lawrence Susskind

Lawrence Susskind

Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The 1981 book Getting to Yes popularized the notion that negotiations can have “win-win” outcomes. In his own work, especially his 2014 book Good for You, Great for Me, Prof. Susskind takes those ideas further, arguing that while there is room for advantage within win-win situations, finding it requires studying the other party’s interests closely, to produce new ideas for expanding the value that can then be divvied up.

Susskind’s current research focuses on the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution, especially as applied to the land and sovereignty claims of indigenous peoples in Israel, Canada, the Philippines, the U.S., and Chile; building consensus on local, state, and national adaptive responses to climate change; strategies for promoting renewable energy use; and water diplomacy.

Susskind earned his masters and Ph.D. degrees in urban planning from MIT and joined the faculty in 1971. He teaches six courses on topics including negotiation and dispute resolution, international environmental negotiation, and water diplomacy. In his private practice he has mediated more than 50 disputes related to the siting of controversial facilities,public health and safety standards, development plans and projects, and conflicts among racial and ethnic groups.

He is the director of the Science Impact Collaborative, which seeks better ways to involve a wide range of stakeholders in environmental policy-making and natural resource management; vice chair of the program on negotiation at Harvard Law School, an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to developing the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution; and founder and chief knowledge officer of the Consensus Building Institute, which trains organizations to negotiate and collaborate using a “Mutual Gains” framework developed by the program on negotiation.


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