Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

Baltimore Planning Department Training


In partnership with Laura Bachle of Confluence Consulting, Frank Dukes and Karen Firehock of IEN designed and offered training in mediation and group facilitation for the City of Baltimore Planning Department in Fall 2003. This initial training, offered over a period of three weeks,was part of a larger project to develop a mediation and consensus building capacity within the Department. The project was funded by the Maryland Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), and the IEN-Confluence Consulting team was selected in response to a request for proposals.

The project goals were as follows:

  • A Baltimore Planning Department mediation team will be able to assess, design, convene and conduct a wide range of processes to address different community conflicts.
  • Community conflicts will be identified and addressed in ways that create sustainable solutions for Baltimore citizens.
  • By using a broad range of mediation processes, more community citizens in all sectors will be engaged in resolving community issues.
  • Citizens will be offered more and different ways in which they may provide their perspective on community issues, and ways in which they may be engaged in local decision-making.
  • The City of Baltimore Planning Department will be seen and used consistently as a valuable community resource for mediating community conflicts.

A 113-page Manual of Mediating to Transform Conflict was developed in response to the planners’ needs as identified during pre-training interviews. The planners were able to enhance their considerable skills with new tools and strategies, and planned to be conducting mediations and consensus building efforts in partnership with Ms. Bachle and other consultants shortly after their training.