Place-based Conflict Management

In our global village world, we are more likely to buy into ideas and approaches developed somewhere else, in a different place.  This is certainly true in the conflict management arena; whether its interest-based negotiation, more prisons, or Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).  No matter if good or bad, these other ways can distract us from crafting our own, unique, place-based, solutions.

 ben's place

Place matters

Place matters.  Want to address conflict in ways that are adaptive, inclusive, context-sensitive, flexible, multi-displinary, culturally respectful, creative, inspiring, collaborative, social…? This is what place offers.

I look around my place.  What do I see?  I see people from many cultures, and their influences.  I see people, First Nations, whose restorative traditions have served them over millenia.  I see nature; landforms, plants and animals, found nowhere else on earth.  Lessons for us, from everywhere (even whales, thanks @Kariboyle). I see abundance.  I see many ways of community, local variants on living together, shaped by place.

Local, living economies are place-based.  Great public places work because they are place-based (see Project for Public  Spaces org, @rethinkurban in Victoria).  Resilient neighbourhoods are place-based.  Great traditions start in a place.

Place and Conflict Management

What about conflict management?  What’s place-based about your approaches to conflict management?  Or, are they all imports from somewhere else?  Maybe you’ve adapted those imports, in big or small ways, to meet local conditions?   Have they taken root?   How adaptive and resilient are they to budget cuts, economy changes, the latest marketing… ?

Next time somebody markets you from afar… remember that the Internet has no seasons.  We aren’t all in the same boat.   Nature loves diversity.   Innovation loves diversity.  Your conflict management approaches should reflect a love of diversity.

Is the Internet a “place”?

I’m a fan of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).  I believe in using technology for public good, to make the world a better place.  Thats my cup half full view on technology.  Even better, for me, though,  would be place-based ODR.  ODR adapted to local needs.  My local government  (BC Ministry of Justice) is doing good work on this front.

Place + Technology

Myself, I am focused on hybrid models of managing conflict and dispute resolution.  Technology is here to serve us, not master us.  Not yet, anyways!  Personal, local interactions, with conversations extended and enhanced via technology.  That’s my vision.  Place + technology.  That’s the intersection I seem to be spending lots of time on these days, towards a new service/product.

How about you?  How do you use the place you live in, to shape your approach to conflict management?

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