Lawrence Susskind was born in New York City in 1947. He graduated from Columbia University in 1968 with a B.A. in English Literature and Sociology. He received his Master of City Planning from MIT in 1970 and his Ph.D. in Urban Planning from MIT in 1973.
Professor Susskind joined the faculty of the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning in 1971 (dusp.mit.edu). He served as Associated Head and then as Head of the Department from 1974 through 1982. He was promoted to full professor in 1986 and Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning in 1995. He headed the Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP) Group in the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT for more than 25 years, overseeing the development of MIT’s professional Environmental Planning Certificate Program. He currently teaches Negotiation and Dispute Resolution in the Public Sector, Introduction to Environmental Policy and Planning, Water Diplomacy, and Entrepreneurial Negotiation. He is Director of the MIT Science Impact Collaborative (scienceimpact.mit.edu) and Co-Director of the MIT Cybersecurity Clinic (urbancyberdefense.mit.edu). From 2014 - 2018 Professor Susskind was Director of the MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program (malaysiacities.mit.edu). He supervises undergraduate, masters and doctoral students every year and has headed more than 70 doctoral dissertation committees and more than 125 masters thesis committees.
From 1982-1985, Professor Susskind served as the first Executive Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, an inter-university consortium for the improvement of theory and practice in the field of dispute resolution. He has held an appointment as Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and still serves as Vice-Chair of the Program on Negotiation (PON), representing MIT on PON's Executive Committee. Professor Susskind is responsible for an extensive series of applied research projects at PON’s Public Disputes Program and for the management of the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) where he has developed almost 100 simulations that are used to teach negotiation, dispute resolution and consensus building throughout the world. He leads PON’s Master Class in Negotiation twice each year and also co-directs Harvard Law School's Advanced Mediation Workshop.
Professor Susskind has held visiting appointments and guest lectureships at Stanford University Law School, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, the University of Hawaii (School of Social Science), the Rhode Island School of Design (Haffenreffer Lecturer), University of California-Berkeley (School of Environmental Design), the University of Minnesota (Humphrey School of Public Affairs), the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) and the University of Nebraska.
Professor Susskind is one of America’s most experienced public and environmental dispute mediators, and leading figure in the dispute resolution field. He has mediated more than fifty complex disputes related to the siting of controversial facilities, the setting of public health and safety standards, the formulation and implementation of development plans and projects and conflicts among racial and ethnic groups — serving on occasion as a special court-appointed master.
From 1986-1993, Professor Susskind was Manager of Public Dispute Resolution Devices at Endispute, Inc which later became Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service (JAMS).
Professor Susskind is founder and for thirteen years was President ossorf the Consensus Building Institute (cbi.org), a not-for-profit organization that provides mediation and dispute resolution services to public and private clients worldwide. In 2010, he was appointed Chief Knowledge Officer at CBI and remains a member of the CBI Board of Directors. CBI facilitated the Policy Dialogue on Trade and the Environment that brought senior WTO officials together with leaders of environmental organizations around the world. Under Professor Susskind’s leadership, CBI helped OECD implement a mediation program to resolve human rights, labor and environmental dispute between corporations based in OECD member companies and governmental entities throughout the developing world . CBI staff have mediated hospital relocation plans and formulation of state health policy reforms, evaluated mediation and dispute resolution efforts for a variety of federal and state agencies, designed and provided advanced negotiation training for the US State Department, organized training programs for multiple labor unions and their management counterparts and initiated the Program for Young Negotiators and the Workable Peace Program to teach public school teachers how to teach conflict management and inter-ethnic dispute handling skills to their middle school and high school students. Since 1993, CBI has worked for more than 25 countries and 35 states, provinces and tribes.
As a corporate trainer, Professor Susskind has provided in-house instruction to more than fifty clients including Hewlett Packard, AT&T, Texas Instruments, IBM, Time-Warner, 3M, NBC, CBS, Dupont, American Cyanamid, The Edison Electric Institute. NYNEX, BristolMyersSquibb and General Electric. His public agency clients have included UNDP, UNEP, UNITAR, G-77, OECD, USEPA, US Labor Department, US Army Corps of Engineers, USDOE, USDOI, and more than thirty state and local agencies from Maine to Hawaii.
AS Principal Associate and External Director of Environmental Resources Management (Europe), a worldwide environmental consulting firm from 1975-1995, Professor Susskind was acted actively involved in the formulation and implementation of environmental management strategies (particularly environmental impact assessment, risk assessment and environmental dispute resolution policies) in the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany.
Professor Susskind has served as a planning consultant, negotiation advisor and policy analyst in China, Malaysia, Chile, Mexico, Finland, Italy, Spain, Japan, Philippines, Palestine and Israel. He has worked for community groups and grassroots organizations throughout the United States and Canada on issues of public participation in local decision-making, intergovernmental fiscal relations and the siting of public facilities.
Professor Susskind has been a member of the American Planning Association for more than 30 years and joined the American Institute of Certified Planners in 1980. He served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning from 1974-1981 and was one of the first appointees to the National Planning Accreditation Board —the body that accredits schools of urban and regional planning in the United States. He served on the Planning Accreditation Board fro 1984 - 1987.
In 1983, Professor Susskind joined the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) — now the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) — serving on that organization’s Ethics Committee and as Communications Coordinator for SPIDR’s Public and Environmental Section. In 1988 he was appointed to the Commercial Arbitration Panel of the American Arbitration Association. In 1990, he was appointed to the national dispute resolution panel of the Center for Public Resources in New York City and in 1998 was invited to be a member of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators.
Professor Susskind has served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Montana Consensus Council, the Professional Advisory Committee of the U.S. Consensus Council, the New York State Office of Dispute Resolution, the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution and as an advisor to the National Institute for Dispute Resolution for its program of support to state offices of mediation.
Professor Susskind has been a member of the International Association for Public Participation Practitioners (IAP2) and headed the Secretariat of the International Environmental Negotiation Network — an informal worldwide association of individuals committed to reforming the global treaty-making activities of the United Nations. In 1989, 1990 and 1991, Professor Susskind served as organizer of international environmental negotiation seminars offered by the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria.
In 1993, he joined the board of the Sustainability Challenge Foundation in the Netherlands and chaired the faculty of the International Program on the Management of Sustainability fro 1991 - 2003. From 2011 - 2017 he co-directed the Water Diplomacy Workshop with Professor Shafiqul Islam. And, from 2017 to the present, he co-leads the Science Diplomacy Workshop with Boston area consular officials and colleagues at four other universities.
In 2018, Professor Susskind joined the Board of the American Arbitration Association’s International Center for Dispute Resolution Foundation.
Professor Susskind was the founder and Senior Editor of Environmental Impact Assessment Review, a peer-reviewed journal for twenty years. He was also the publisher of Consensus, a quarterly newspaper distributed to every elected body in the United States by the Public Disputes Network. He was co-editor of the Negotiation Series published by Sage Publications, co-editor of the Environmental Policy and Management Series published by Island Press, as well as co-editor of the International Environmental Negotiation Annual published by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. He is currently coordinator of Anthem Press’ Environment and Sustainability Initiative and their EnviroExperts Review. He has been a member of the editorial boards of more than 10 journals including Negotiations Journal, Journal of the American Institute of Planners, Sustainable Science, The Solutions Journal, and the Journal of Planning Education and Research.
Professor Susskind is the author or co-author of more than twenty books (translated into 10 languages) and more than 100 book chapters, articles, working papers and consulting reports. This includes papers in Yale Journal of Regulation, Vermont Law Review, Journal of Environmental Affairs, Urban Law Annual, Journal of Public Policy and Management, Journal of Planning Education and Research, World Business Journal, Virginia Environmental Law Review, UCLA Environmental Law and Policy Review, Solutions Journal, Journal of Hydrology, Nature: Climate Change, Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, International Journal of Water Resources Development, Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, Marquette Law Review, Urban Law Annual, Town Planning Review, Journal of Cyber Policy, and the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.
His books include: Entrepreneurial Negotiation: Understanding and Managing the Relationships That Determine Your Entrepreneurial Success (with Samuel Dinner), Palgrave; Macmillan, 2018; Managing Climate Risks in Coastal Communities: Strategies for Engagement, Readiness and Adaptation (with Danya Rumore et. al.), 2015, Anthem Press; Environmental Diplomacy: Negotiating More Effective Global Agreements, 2nd edition, (with Saleem Ali), 2014, Oxford Press; Good for You, Great for Me: Finding the Trading Zone and Winning at Win-Win Negotiation, 2014, Public Affairs; Water Diplomacy: A Negotiated Approach to Managing Complex Water Networks (with Shafiqul Islam), 2014, Resources for the Future; Built to Win: Creating A World-Class Negotiating Organization (with Hal Movius), 2009, Harvard Business Review Press, Multiparty Negotiation (four volumes) (with Larry Crump), 2009, Sage Publications; Breaking Robert’s Rules: The New Way to Run Your Meeting, Build Consensus, and Get Results (with Jeffrey Cruikshank), 2006, Oxford University Press; Negotiating on Behalf of Others: Advice to Lawyers, Business Executives, Sports Agents, Diplomats, Politicians and Everybody Else (with Robert Mnookin), 1999, Sage Publishers; The Consensus Building Handbook (with Sarah McKearnan et. al) 1999, Sage Publishers; Dealing with an Angry Public: the Mutual Gains Approach to Resolving Disputes (with Patrick Field), 2nd edition, 1999, Free Press; Breaking the Impasse (with Jeffrey Cruikshank), 1989, Basic Books.
A more complete listing of Professor Susskind’s publications can be found on the publications page.
Public and Community Service
In Massachusetts, Professor Susskind served three Massachusetts governors as an appointee to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Special Legislative Commission on Growth Management, the Special Legislative Commission on Tax Reform, the Open Space Planning Task Force of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management, and the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution. At the local level, he has assisted numerous municipal task forces and boards, and helped to create the Southborough (Massachusetts) Open Land Foundation and 1,000 Friends of Kauai (Hawaii).
Nationally, Professor Susskind has served as an advisor to several dozen non-governmental organizations involved with community development, environmental protection, and public participation issues, including more than a dozen foundations.
MIT Office of Graduate's Education's Commited to Caring Award (2020) presented to MIT faculty who have demonstrated a sincere commitment to their graduate students’ overall well-being and served as outstanding advisors and mentors.
MIT Office of Digital Learing's Teaching with Digital Technology Award (2020) which celebrates MIT faculty who innovate and incorperate technology into their pedagogy and teaching.
Kenneth Cloke Peacemaker of the Year Award (2011) was presented by Mediators Beyond Borders for dedication, excellence, and commitment in the field of conflict resolution.
Book of the Year (2011) was presented by the International Association for Conflict Management (2010) for Multiparty Negotiation (four volumes) with Larry Crump, published by Sage, 2009.
Global Environmental Award (2007) was presented by the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) for outstanding, sustained and unique contribution to the field of environmental conflict.
ACSP Distinguished Educator Award (2005) is presented in acknowledgment of service and contribution to the field of planning.
Best Book in the Dispute Resolution field (2000) awarded by the Center for Public Research for The Consensus Building Handbook (Sage Publications, 1999).
Best Book in the Dispute Resolution field (1997) awarded by the Center for Public Research for Dealing with an Angry Public (The Free Press, 1996).
Goodwin Award, 1973, for Teaching Excellence as a Graduate Instructor at MIT.
Professor Susskind married Leslie Tuttle in 1983. They reside in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts and Wilmot, New Hampshire. They have two children and two grandchildren.