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 Masters of City Planning from MIT in 1970 and his Ph.D. in Urban Planning from MIT in 1973.


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.

University Appointments

Professor Susskind joined the faculty of the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning in 1971. He served first as Associate Head and then as Head of that Department from 1974 through 1982. He was appointed full professor in 1986 and Ford Professor of Urban & Environmental Planning in 1995. He headed the Environmental Policy Group in the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT for 25 years. He currently teaches six courses (Negotiation and Dispute Resolution in the Public Sector (11.255), International Environmental Negotiation (11.364) taught jointly with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University,  Graduate Introduction to Environmental Policy and Planning(11.601), Water Diplomacy (11.382) and Theory and Practice of Participatory Action Research (11.944/11.945) and Malaysia Sustainable Cities Practicum (11.947). He oversees a research budget of approximately $250,000 annually, and supervises more than a dozen masters and doctoral dissertations a year.

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 currently holds an appointment as Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Professor Susskind is responsible for an extensive series of action-research projects, the training of senior executives, and serves on the Editorial Board of Negotiation Journal and as head of the Negotiation Pedagogy Initiative at PON. He has developed more than fifty simulations (distributed by the Clearinghouse at the Program on Negotiation) that are used to teach negotiation, dispute resolution, and consensus building throughout the world.

Professor Susskind has held visiting appointments and guest lectureships at Harvard Law School, 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, the University of California at 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.

Professional Practice

Professor Susskind is one of the country’s most experienced public and environmental dispute mediators and a 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 Services at Endispute, Incorporated. As a corporate trainer, he has provided in-house instruction for more than fifty clients, including HP, AT&T, Texas Instruments, IBM, Time-Warner, 3M, NBC, CBS, Dupont, American Cyanamid, The Edison Electric Institute, NYNEX, Southern New England Telephone, Digital, AMOCO, BristolMyersSquibb, and General Electric. His public agency clients have included the U.N. Development Programme, U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development, UNITAR, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Labor Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Energy, 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 1975 to 1995, Professor Susskind was 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, Italy, Spain, Japan, Philippines, the Palestinian Territories 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.

Consensus Building Institute, Inc.

Professor Susskind is founder and for thirteen years President of the Consensus Building Institute (CBI), a not-for-profit organization that provides mediation and dispute system design services to public and private clients worldwide. In 2010, he was appointed Chief Knowledge Officer at CBI. CBI has facilitated the worldwide Policy Dialogue on Trade and the Environment that brings senior WTO officials together with leaders of environmental organizations around the world. CBI staff have also 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, organized training programs for union leaders 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 interethnic dispute handling skills to their middle school and high school students. Since 1993, CBI has worked in more than 15 countries and 30 states and provinces.

Professional Affiliations

Professor Susskind has been a member of the American Planning Association for more than twenty-five years and joined the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) in 1980. He served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Collegiate School 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 from 1984-1987.

In 1983, Professor Susskind joined the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) – now the Association for Conflict Resolution — and served 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 (Boston Section) 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 also been a member of the International Association for Public Participation Practitioners 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 Programme on the Management of Sustainability from 1991-2003.


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 General Editor of the Environment and Sustainability Publishing Programme of Anthem Press, including the Environmental Services and Restoration Series. He is also a member of the editorial board’s Negotiations Journal, Journal of the American Institute of Planners, Urban Planning Journal, Solutions Journal and Sustainability Science.

Professor Susskind is the author or co-author of fifteen books and more than 100 book chapters, articles, working papers, and consulting reports including papers in Yale Journal of Regulation, Vermont Law Review, Journal of Environmental Affairs, Urban Law Annual, Journal of Public Policy and Management, Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of Planning Education and Research, World Business Journal, as well as in Japanese, Italian, German, Portuguese, Dutch, and Korean planning and public administration journals.

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.


Professor Susskind married Leslie Tuttle in 1983. They reside in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Wilmot, New Hampshire. They have two children.