Teaching and Research

Current Courses

Professor Susskind is founder of and former head of the Environmental Policy Group in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. He currently teaches six subjects. These are briefly described below with links to the relevant home pages, where appropriate

  • 11.236(Fall)/11.237(Spring): The Theory and Practice of Participatory Action Research
  • 11.601: Introduction to Environmental Policy & Planning
  • 11.255: Negotiation and Dispute Resolution in the Public Sector
  • 11.382: Water Diplomacy: The Science, Policy and Politics of Managing Shared Resources
  • 11.364:  International Environmental Treaty Negotiation
  • 11.384(Fall)/11.385(IAP)/11.386(Spring): Malaysia Sustainable Cities Practicum
Doctoral Advisees

Since 1979, Professor Susskind has supervised more than sixty doctoral candidates. They are presented here, by year of graduation, with dissertation title.

(Year: Advisee: Dissertation Title)


Beck, Andrea, : Dissertation  TBA

Falco, Greg: Dissertation  TBA


Gordon, Jessica: Dissertation  TBA

Kim, Ella: Dissertation  TBA

Russo, Michal: Dissertation  TBA

Smith, Christopher: Dissertation  TBA

Zaerpoor, Yasmin: Dissertation  TBA



Heber-Dunning, Kelly: Resilient Coasts, Resilient Communities: Grassroots versus Top Down Management of Coral Reefs in Southeast Asia

Schulman, Alexis:  Dissertation  TBA

Shin, Nah-Yoon:  Dissertation  TBA


Rumore, Danya: ​Helping Coastal Communities Anticipate and Manage Climate Change Risks Through Role-Play Simulations

Verdini Trejo,  Bruno: Charting New Territories Together: Laying the Foundations for Mutual Gains in United States – Mexico Water and Energy Negotiations ​

Stokes, Leah: Power Politics: Renewable Energy Policy Change in US States

Schenk, Todd:   Institutionalizing Uncertainty: Exploring How Infrastructure Stakeholders Can Collaboratively Prepare for Uncertain Climate Futures


Marantz, Nicholas:  Planning by Contract? Negotiated Regulation in Urban Development


Dutta-Kohler, Madhu: Making Climate Adaptation Work : Strategies for Resource Constrained South Asian Mega-Cities

van Maasakkers, Tijs: Trading Places : The Development of Markets for Ecosystem Services in the United States


Anguelovski, Isabelle: Neighborhood and Refuge: Environmental Justice and Community Reconstruction in Boston, Barcelona and Havana

Araujo, Kathy: Decarbonizing Shifts: Dynamic Conversions in the Sectoral Energy Balances of Four Prime Mover Energy Countries

Ashcraft, Catherine: Adaptive Governance of Contested Rivers: A Political Journey into the Uncertain


Kock, Beaudry: Addressing Agricultural Salinity in the American West: Harnessing Behavioral Diversity to Institutional Design


Odeh, Nancy: Towards Improved Partnerships in the Water Sector in the Middle East: A Case Study of Partnerships in Jordan’s Water Sector

Eigen, Zev: A Behavioral Theory of Contract


Macey, Gregg: Sheltering in Place: The Limits to Integrative Bargaining Following Industrial Accidents

Nielsen, Erik: Networked Governance: China’s Changing Approach to Transboundary Environmental Management

Rosan, Christina: Metropolitan Governance and Local Land Use Planning in Boston, Denver, and Portland


Kohler, Pia: Towards a Global Consensus on Matters of Science: How process and membership can generate valid and sustainable science advice in multilateral environmental treaty negotiations

Kim, Dong Young: The Politics of Consensus Building: The Case of Diesel Passenger Cars and Urban Air Quality Management in South Korea

Matsuura, Masahiro: Localizing Public Dispute Resolution In Japan: lessons from experiments with deliberative policy-making


Fuller, Boyd: Trading zones: cooperating for water resource and ecosystem management when stakeholders have apparently irreconcilable differences.

Flores, Andres: Private vs. Public Ownership of Power Generation in Mexico: Should Environmental Policymakers Care?

Mostashari, Ali: Stakeholder-assisted modeling and policy design for engineering systems


Blockhus, Jill: The Potential for Trickle Up: How Local Actors’ Experiments Influence National Forest Policy Planning

Martinez, Janet: International Dispute Settlement system Design: Analyzing the Experience of the World Trade Organization

Sewell, Granville: Conflicting Beliefs: Actors, Coalitions and the Framework Convention on Climate Change


Rossi, Mark: Greening the Invisible Hand: How Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Succeed and Fail in Technology Change


Corburn, Jason: Street Science: The Fusing of Local and Professional Knowledge in Environmental Policy


Ali, Saleem: Environmental resistance and Aboriginal development : a comparative study of mining ventures in the United States and Canada

Najam, Adil: Getting Beyond The Lowest Common Denominator: Developing Countries In Global Environmental Negotiations


Long, Marybeth: Grains of Truth: Science and the Evolution of International Desertification Policy Making

Merrigan, Kathleen: Negotiating Identity Within the Sustainable Agriculture Advocacy Coalition

Oliveira, Jose Antonio: Implementing Environmental Policies in Developing Countries: Responding to the Environmental Impacts of Tourism Development by Creating Environmentally Protected Areas in Bahia, Brazil


Gutner, Tamar :Banking on the Environment: Multilateral Development Banks and Environmental Policy Making in Central and Eastern Europe


Beattie, Robert: Common ground: Sustainable Development Conflicts in the Northern Forest of New England and New York

Laws, David: Planning in the Shadow of the Future: Intergenerational Ethics in Environmental Decision-making

Sandford, Rosemary: A Comparative Study of Global Environmental Treaty Secretariats: Their Roles and Influence in Treaty Implementation

Fairman, David: Reforming Natural Resource Policies in Developing Countries: The Politics of Forest Policy Reform in Southeast Asia


Kaufmann, Joanne: Beyond the Blue Horizon: The Role of Industry in Global Environmental Politics


Dolin, Eric J.: Remedial Adjudication in Environmental Institution Cases: Lessons from Boston Harbor


Babbit, Eileen: Beyond Neutrality: The Use of Leverage by Powerful States as Mediators in International Conflict


Alberti, Marina: Minimization of Hazarduous Waste in Western Europe Policy: Implementation and Harmonization

Raab, Jonathan: Consensus-Building in Electric Utility Regulation


Konkel, Steven: Richard Using Joint Fact-Finding To Resolve Disputes Over Cleanup Of Hazardous Waste Sites

Pokharel, Jagadish: Chandra Environmental Resource Negotiation between Asymmetrically Powerful Nations: Power of the Weaker Nations


Andrews, Clinton James: Improving the Analytics of Open Planning Process: Scenario-based Multiple Attribute Tradeoff Analysis for Regional Electric Power Planning

Gamman, John K.: Environmental Policy Implementation in Developing Countries


McCreary, Scott T.: Resolving Science-Intensive Public Policy Disputes: Lessons from the New York Bright Initiative


Ozawa, Connie Consensual Approaches and the Role of Science in Public Decision Making


Horan, Cynthia L.: Empty Coffers: Tax Reform and Politics in Boston and New York

Kim, Karl E.: Urban Infrastructure: The Role of Long-term Municipal Borrowing


Elliott Michael L. P.: Coping with Conflicting Perceptions of Risk in Hazarduous Waste Facility Siting Disputes

Horberry, John A.: Development Assistance and the Environment: A Question of Accountability


Perry, Charles J.: State growth management: prospects for consensus-oriented land use planning and conflict resolution


Polk, Jr., William Gastion: The National Rural Cable TV Development Task Force: A Case Study of a “Coordinative Approach” to Federal Policy and Program Implementation

Wondolleck, Julia M.: Oil and Gas and the Public Lands: Conflict and Resolution


Yaffee, Stephen Lewis: Prohibitive Policy and the Implementation of the Endangered Species Act

Research Interests

Professor Susskind has pursued several broad research themes over the past several decades: the mediation of public disputes (particularly land use and environmental disputes), global environmental treatymaking, public involvement in governmental decision-making (particularly science-intensive policy disputes), environmental technology innovation and ways that the interests of indigenous peoples can be served in resource management disputes.

His work in the public disputes field includes studies of the effectiveness of mediation; the dynamics of multi-party, multi-issue negotiation, the ethics of public dispute resolution, and cross-cultural obstacles to transferring public dispute mediation strategies from the United States to other parts of the world. For more on his work in this area see web.mit.edu/publicdisputes.

With regard to global environmental treaty-making, his work has focused on the role of science and scientists in the treatymaking process, the expanding role of non-governmental interests in treaty-making, the relationship between informal (Track II) diplomacy and the formal processes of treaty-making, and the difficulties of enforcing transboundary environmental agreements.

In the area of public involvement in governmental decision-making his emphasis has been on the tactics and strategies of collaborative decision-making (especially joint fact finding and integrated assessment), the obstacles to expanding deliberative democracy, alternatives to Robert’s Rules of Order and majority rule in group decision-making, facility siting and land use disputes, and the use of interactive technologies to expand public participation. For more on his work in this area see scienceimpact.mit.edu

Under the heading of environmental technology innovation, Professor Susskind focuses on what he called public entrepreneurship networks — the complex web of individuals and institutions needed to harmonize efforts for “green” innovation to be successful at the community or regional scale.

More Recent Research Directions:

In the past few years, Professor Susskind’s research has focused, in addition, on (1) entrepreneurial negotiations; (2) ways of building consensus on local, state and national adaptive responses to the likely impacts of climate change (scienceimpact.mit.edu); (3) strategies for encouraging greater reliance on renewable energy, and (4) water diplomacy (www.waterdiplomacy.org).