Students:Regional government group instructions
Background information: what the landscape means for us
We see the landscape in all its complexity – we want all it attributes to be in balance: it is a healthy, aesthetic, inspiring environment with numerous natural, historical etc. values. It should provide numerous opportunities for the economy, include infrastructure for all services, transport etc.
Who we are
We are the regional government with well-defined responsibilities and competencies. We are local residents as well and better aware of the problems of the region than others. The most important decisions, however, are beyond our competence.
What we want
We want to provide all services of a high quality so that citizens in the region are satisfied. However, we are not aware of the special viewpoints of different interest groups. The economic aspects of the regional development are the most important for us, and nature protection etc. are perceived as important factors to counterbalance its negative impacts. We want to make strategic decisions, but we are not able to have any influence at all on the decisions that have an impact on regional planning. We do not listen to lobbyists but rational reasoning might change our priorities. Democratic dialogue is sometimes a burden for us as our planning paradigm is based on “optimalization”.
What do we need to explore (potential themes for dialogue with local stakeholders)
The opinions of all citizens are of great interest to us. Some of them we might take into consideration within our decision-making process, and we have to be aware of other viewpoints to be able to develop some “secret” strategy for dealing with activities that might be too radical or beyond our scope of interest.
Demands towards the other groups
- Basically, we are interested receiving input from all interest groups in the region (although we are not really able to work with such input in decision making if it is not an outcome of systematic research). Specific points of interest are of great importance for us (we might not have thought about them)
- From those concerned with regional planning we need to know about the priorities – how they are settled, how they are limited (financially?), where are the uncertainties
What we are offering
We are offering a regional development strategy that would satisfy most of the other groups – it is well balanced. On the other hand, we might insist on plans that are in conflict with their interests.
Tasks for the group
Compile accessible information about the region that could be used for planning purposes – text 2 pages long that provides insight into most interesting features and is based on facts.
Obtain input from local people – you should question those you meet during the lectures, visits and excursions, or in normal conversation when you meet somebody relevant “in the street”. Concentrate on those representatives of real stakeholders that could provide you some info important for your decision making from outside.
Use “value neutral” information from diverse sources when preparing your SWOT analysis of the current situation (natural conditions, environmental problems and their analysis, policy, institutions, existing strategies on regional as well as state level,…) – identify positives, negatives, risks, opportunities from your point of view.
Using the outcome of the SWOT, express your interests clearly (with regard to the issues relevant for the current policy debate). Your own position could be based on the opinions of the people you have met on various occasions. Your interests should take into account different thematic issues but you have to make them balanced. Within the group, you have to agree on a list of priorities for future development.
Develop your arguments for supporting your realistic demands and future visions, and identify an area for negotiation with other groups: your positions should be defended against those other groups; you should identify plans which you could occasionally compromise on.
On this basis, develop a strategy for defending your standpoints on best possible regional development strategy that you will claim against the other interest groups, identify potential conflicts, and prepare yourself for the final negotiation & conflict resolution process!
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