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Biodiversity-related negotiations in city planning: A role-playing game

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Title: Biodiversity-related negotiations in city planning: A role-playing game
Author(s): Lahti, Arttu
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Degree program: Master's Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability
Specialisation: Global Sustainability
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
Abstract:
The need to develop and expand urban areas is increasing in most countries, but urbanization also increases the threat for global biodiversity. Some cities have acknowledged this challenge and formed strategies and action plans for biodiversity preservation. How can we ensure that such strategies are realized in city planning? Negotiations are a crucial part of urban planning, and therefore can be a leverage point of intervention to effectively implement strategies to pro-tect biodiversity. However, little is known about the dynamics of the actual negotiation process in city planning. I applied a game theoretic approach to study how information availability influences the suc-cess and efficiency of negotiations. A role-playing game was used to simulate a negotiation on specific measures to preserve biodiversity in a residential building project. Eleven urban devel-opment specialists played the game with different sets of information. In addition to the direct outcomes of the negotiation, I analysed the post hoc discussion and arguments used to gain in-sights into perceptions of biodiversity-related negotiations in urban planning. Results indicate that information availability can increase the efficiency of negotiations. Partici-pants favour principled and integrative negotiation, but incomplete information seems to push them to take a more positional stance. The post hoc discussion also reveals some issues rele-vant to the design of urban planning process for biodiversity. The overall results suggest that a simple game-theoretic framework, implemented in (a) game-like simulation with quasi-experimental control and (b) qualitative analysis of discussions, holds potential for both under-standing (i) how decision makers frame and resolve the negotiation with conflicting interests and (ii) how to design efficient administrative processes taking into account not only the partic-ipants’ preferences but also wider public interests, such as biodiversity preservation.
Keyword(s): Biodiversity Negotiations City planning Sustainability Role-playing game Game theory


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