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Planum News 11.2011 </br> Mediation  in Environmental Conflicts Management </br> DiAP, Department of Architecture and Planning


28 November 2011 – 29 November 2011

in Environmental Conflicts Management.
New frontiers International Workshop

Milano, Italy
Politecnico di Milano
DiAP, Department of Architecture and Planning
Politecnico di Bari
Department of Water Engineering and Chemistry

Workshop internazionale
Politecnico di Milano, P.zza Leonardo da Vinci 32
Building n.5, Castigliano Room
28th November 2011, h.11.00 - 19.30
29th November 2011, h.9.00 - 13.00

Mediation is largely recognized as one possible approach in conflict management and is widely practiced in conflict resolution. It has a wide and significant theoretical background and is differently interpreted depending on the conflict nature and context.

However, independently from the different interpretations on mediation it is usually considered as an efficient way for driving agreement through a rational dialogue and collaboration among different actors’ interests, values and norms. This perspective was developed from the idea that conflict is a barrier paralysing efficient decision‐making and mainly due to an imbalance of distributional costs and benefits and power relationships, rather than as “moments” expressing latent social needs for change.
Mediating, whether in a transformative or negotial perspective, is about:
Encouraging face to face dialogue
Transforming values and triggering mutual learning
Building shared understanding
Searching for win/win solutions

In spite of a shared vision of mediation activities, criticisms are emerging mainly referring to the trust given to communication and argumentation, to the inefficacy of mediation approach in changing the values and interests pattern underlying persistent conflicts (especially in war), to the rational background of the theoretical base of mediation. Mediation is often considered as the soft approach of negotiation and is not well centered on the conflict dynamics and its potential transformative power.
Starting from the most relevant criticisms to mediation, this session intends to create a discussion among mediation theorists and practitioners in order to respond to the question: in times characterized by the emergence of new forms of conflicts and the diffusion of authoritarian ways of decision making process, what new roles for mediation can be envisaged? What are the subsequent conceptualizations of conflict and conflict management?
For that purpose, the session aims at comparing well‐established with new emerging conceptualizations of mediation (especially in the domain of environmental resources management) in conflict management. In particular the session tries to intercept those perspectives taking conflicts as insuppressible social conditions and mediation as conflict mechanisms or emergent properties of the conflict environments.

There are two specific questions the session wants to explore:

I) Can conflict be considered as the emergence of a transition state which could be helped by mediation?
II) Can mediation be conceptualized not only as a planned/organized process leading to a solution but
also as evolving through the achievement of new conflicting but equilibrate states?

• Angela Barbanente, Politecnico di Bari, Regione Puglia
• Marcela Brugnach, Water Engineering and Management Group, University of Twente
• John Forester, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University
• Abdul Khakee, Stockholm University
• David Laws, Amsterdam University
• Giovanni Maciocco, Università degli Studi di Sassari
• PierCarlo Palermo, Politecnico di Milano
• Tim Richardson, Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University
• Vanessa Schweizer, National Center for Atmospheric Research
• Marianella Sclavi, Active Listening SaS


Grazia Concilio, Carolina Pacchi
Department of Architecture and Planning, Politecnico di Milano
Valeria Monno
Department of Water Engineering and Chemistry, Politecnico di Bari

Grazia Concilio 
Phone: +39.02.23995473 

Event schedule:

  • Start: 11-28-2011
  • End: 11-29-2011.