• Jeffrey K. H. Chan


Conflicts are ubiquitous in cities. Contemporary urban conflicts have been noted for their radical discontent. In the city, many of these conflicts are also spatial in nature and can revolve around differences of interest, recognition, and values. Because these conflicts cannot fester indefinitely without doing permanent damage to civic solidarity, some kind of conflict resolution is required. However, how one elects to resolve a conflict is an ethical choice. And this specific choice also has its corresponding moral consequences. In this chapter, consensus building and the ethical compromise are discussed as plausible options for conflict resolution. For the former, the focus is on the roles and impacts of collaborative dialogues, and for the latter, emphasis is given to the distinction between the integrative and the distributive compromise.


Conflict Consensus Compromise Conflict resolution Negotiation 


  1. Appiah, K. A. (2006). Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a world of strangers. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  2. Aragaki, H. N. (2009). Deliberative democracy as dispute resolution? Conflicts, interests and reasons. Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, 24(3), 407–480.Google Scholar
  3. Aristotle. (2005). Nicomachean ethics. New York: Barnes & Noble Books.Google Scholar
  4. Axelrod, R. (1984). The evolution of cooperation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  5. Baird-Remba, R. (2017, July 19). Community gardens fight against developers and the city for survival. Commercial Observer. Retrieved from
  6. Benhabib, S. (1991). Afterword: Communicative ethics and current controversies in practical philosophy (pp. 330–369). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Benjamin, M. (1990). Splitting the difference: Compromise and integrity in ethics and politics. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  8. Berlin, I. (2002). The power of ideas. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Berlin, I. (2003). Freedom and its betrayal: Six enemies of human liberty. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Besson, S. (2005). The morality of conflict: Reasonable agreement and the law. Oxford: Hart.Google Scholar
  11. Boulding, K. E. (1963). Conflict and defense: A general theory. New York: Harper Torchbooks.Google Scholar
  12. Boyle, M. R. (1992). The development-environment interface: Confrontation or compromise? Economic Development Review, 10(3), 3–4.Google Scholar
  13. Carens, J. H. (1979). Compromise in politics. In J. R. Pennock & J. W. Chapman (Eds.), Compromise in ethics, law, and politics (pp. 123–141). New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Caro, T., Dobson, A., Marshall, A. J., & Peres, C. A. (2014). Compromise solutions between conservation and road building in the tropics. Current Biology, 24(16), R722–R725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chan, J. K. H., & Protzen, J. P. (2018). Between conflict and consensus: Searching for an ethical compromise in planning. Planning Theory, 17(2), 170–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cohen, J. R. (2004). The ethics of respect in negotiation. In C. Menkel-Meadow & M. Wheeler (Eds.), What’s fair: Ethics for negotiators (pp. 257–263). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  17. Dahrendorf, R. (2008). The modern social conflict: The politics of liberty. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  18. Fisher, R., Ury, W., & Patton, B. (1991). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in (2nd ed.). New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  19. Flyvbjerg, B. (2002). Bringing power to planning research: One researcher’s praxis story. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 21(4), 353–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Flyvbjerg, B., & Richardson, T. (2002). Planning and Foucault: In search of the dark side of planning theory. In P. Allmendinger & M. Tewdwr-Jones (Eds.), Planning futures: New directions for planning theory (pp. 44–62). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Follett, M. P. (1973). Constructive conflict. In E. M. Fox & L. Urwick (Eds.), Dynamic administration: The collected papers of Mary Parker Follett (pp. 1–20). London: Pitman Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Forester, J. (1999). The deliberative practitioner: Encouraging participatory planning processes. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  23. Golding, M. P. (1979). The nature of compromise: A preliminary inquiry. In J. R. Pennock & J. W. Chapman (Eds.), Compromise in ethics, law, and politics (pp. 3–25). New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Goodin, R. E. (1982). Political theory and public policy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  25. Goodin, R. E. (2012). On settling. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gualini, E. (2015). Mediating Stuttgart 21: The struggle for reconstructing local democracy between agonistic and deliberative practices. In E. Gualini (Ed.), Planning and conflict: Critical perspectives on contentious urban developments (pp. 185–211). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Habermas, J. (1991). Discourse ethics: Notes on a program of philosophical justification. In S. Benhabib & F. Dallmayr (Eds.), The communicative ethics controversy (pp. 60–110). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hösle, V. (2004). Morals and politics. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  29. Howe, E., & Kaufman, J. (1979). The ethics of contemporary American planners. Journal of the American Planning Association, 45(3), 243–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Innes, J. E. (2004). Consensus building: Clarifications for the critics. Planning Theory, 3(1), 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Innes, J. E., & Booher, D. E. (2010). Planning with complexity: An introduction to collaborative rationality for public policy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Innes, J. E., & Booher, D. E. (2015). A turning point for planning theory? Overcoming dividing discourses. Planning Theory, 14(2), 195–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kuflik, A. (1979). Morality and compromise. The nature of compromise: A preliminary inquiry. In J. R. Pennock & J. W. Chapman (Eds.), Compromise in ethics, law, and politics (pp. 38–65). New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Lewicki, R. J., & Gray, B. (2003). Introduction. In R. J. Lewicki, B. Gray, & M. Elliott (Eds.), Making sense of intractable environmental conflicts: Frames and cases (pp. 1–9). Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  35. Margalit, A. (2010). On compromise and rotten compromises. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Menkel-Meadow, C. (2006). The ethics of compromise. In A. K. Schneider & C. Honeyman (Eds.), The Negotiator’s Fieldbook (pp. 155–164). Washington, DC: American Bar Association.Google Scholar
  37. Mouffe, C. (2013). Agonistics: Thinking the world politically. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  38. Nachi, M. (2004). The morality in/of compromise: Some theoretical reflections. Social Science Information, 43(2), 291–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Novy, J., & Peters, D. (2012). Railway station mega-projects as public controversies: The case of Stuttgart 21. Built Environment, 37(3), 128–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Owen, G. (2012). Move your city: Ethics, place and risk in the reconstruction of New Orleans. The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, 2(1), 23–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pascchi, C., & Pasqui, G. (2015). Urban planning without conflicts? Observations on the nature and conditions for urban contestation in the case of Milan. In E. Gualini (Ed.), Planning and conflict: Critical perspectives on contentious urban developments (pp. 79–98). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Pucci, P. (2015). Large infrastructures and conflicts: Searching for “boundary objects”—Reflections from Italian experiences. In E. Gualini (Ed.), Planning and conflict: Critical perspectives on contentious urban developments (pp. 238–258). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Rittel, H. W. J., & Webber, M. M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Science, 4(2), 155–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sassen, S. (2017). Beyond differences of race, religion, class: Making urban subjects. In M. Mostafavi (Ed.), Ethics of the urban: The city and the spaces of the political (pp. 35–46). Zurich: Lars Muller Publishers.Google Scholar
  45. Schelling, T. C. (1971). The strategy of conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Schlosberg, D. (2004). Reconceiving environmental justice: Global movements and political theories. Environmental Politics, 13(3), 517–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schlosberg, D. (2007). Defining environmental justice: Theories, movements, and nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schmelzkopf, K. (2002). Incommensurability, land use, and the right to space: Community gardens in New York City. Urban Geography, 23(4), 323–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  50. Sennett, R. (1973). The uses of disorder: Personal identity and city life. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  51. Susskind, L. E., & Cruikshank, J. (1987). Breaking the impasse: Consensual approaches to resolving public disputes. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  52. van de Poel, I. (1998). Changing technologies: A comparative study of eight processes of transformation of technological regimes (Proefschrift). Enschede: Twente University Press.Google Scholar
  53. van de Poel, I. (2015). Conflicting values in design for values. In J. van den Hoven, P. E. Vermaas, & I. van de Poel (Eds.), Handbook of ethics, values, and technological design: Sources, theory, values and application domains (pp. 89–116). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey K. H. Chan
    • 1
  1. 1.Singapore University of Technology and DesignSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations