Development of bilateral negotiation protocols and testing them in a geodesign context

Please note the deadline for this opportunity has now passed and we will not be accepting further applications. 

The value of decision support systems for urban planning has long been a matter of both innovation and contentions between traditional planners and researchers developing models and software to assist planning processes. One key determinant of success is the capacity of engage with stakeholders and citizens.

Geodeisgn is set of concepts, methods and capabilities for engaging multiple stakeholders using sophisticated systems that bring together mapping, decision-making protocols and assessment tools allowing different socio-technical discourses to find a common ground. Negotiation plays a key role in these systems, as multiple stakeholders engage in processes where complex formulations and social interactions morph into different expectations and perceptions.  

Research in understanding and simulating negotiation in urban processes is in its infancy and there are multiple avenues to pursue. Using the geodesign concept and the Geodesignhub platform is a perfect test bed for developing negotiation protocols that replicate human decision processes. 

The aim of this project will be to design and test digital negotiation systems to simulate negotiation processes involving different types of stakeholders over decisions around urban management.  

The project will have three main components 

(1) Understanding the formation of negotiation strategies and approaches 

  • Explore the theoretical and methodological concepts in negotiation existent in the literature urban planning, economics, forecasting and robotics, among other areas; 
  • Conceptualise processes of negotiation that are represented/implemented via the use of graphic and geographic elements, where topology is a key factor. In the geodesign concept, strategies are implemented via diagrams which are used as the currency of negotiations;  
  • Explore existing algorithms and develop new ones that deal with topology, morphology and generative design 

(2) Development of methods for assessing the value of strategies in negotiation 

  • design measures to assess the value of alternatives of complex strategies combining physical and policy interventions with spatial implementation, represented by Geodesignhub diagrams; 
  • use utility theory and other possible theoretical frameworks to compare alternatives for negotiation, based on strategies represented by diagrams. The acceptance/rejection of the negotiation offers will be based on the utility of the diagram between involved stakeholders;  

(3) Development of methods to implement negotiation strategies  

  • Development of simulations to mimic negotiation processes using commonly available multi-lateral negotiations:  
  • Alternating offers protocols 
  • Continuous offers protocols 
  • Once the alternatives have been generated and the utility computed, simulations can be run using against a set of diagrams against the two protocols to simulate negotiations and report / generate the results.  

Expected contributions 

  • Application of new algorithms to social interaction to design better negotiations for different stakeholders. 
  • Development of systematic rules for negotiation within geodesign projects.  
  • Development of opensource tools / software for generation of alternatives, a framework utility calculation and simulation 

 The research will be developed using the Geodesignhub platform and a sample of representative projects where different typologies of negotiation will be tested. Issues of scale, scope, strategic level, morphology, and cost/benefits, among possible others, will be addressed to test the sensitivity and the validity of the models of negotiation. Case studies will include cases from small urban developments to neighbourhood interventions to metropolitan/regional planning cases. 

Project reference: MN63

Application deadline: 1st April 2022

How to apply