This is a reflective scenario problem regarding negotiation. Please DO NOT answer this question if you are just going to give the definition. Thank you.


Rockport Innovation Precinct

When the port still functioned, “Rocky” (current population 73,000) was a manufacturing and trading hub. Numerous businesses and industries set up headquarters along the bay and its river, and Rockport’s population and economy grew. From the 1990s onwards, as manufacturing was off-shored, the viability of the town’s port suffered, and it eventually shut down in 2003. Although a few established department stores and retail arcades, along with the town hall, library and other municipal buildings remained in CBD along the river and waterfront, Rockport’s economy suffered as previously thriving industries, along with the jobs they directly and indirectly supported, moved out. The population shrank by almost 15,000 people. The highway was subsequently re-routed, and what little industry still existed moved to the strip-mall commercial development that grew alongside it, around 6km away. Now, nearly all the old factories and warehouses sit empty. As people gradually abandoned Bay Street, the original town centre, it was increasingly impacted by urban decay and crime. This has impacted the revenue base of Rockport Council which does not have the money to invest in revitalising the CBD – or dealing with the vacant warehouses on the waterfront, derelict and covered in graffiti.

Despite Rockport’s economic decline, an appealing climate, proximity to the highway and the bay – as well as fabulously cheap real estate – has made parts of the town attractive to new residents and investors. Small businesses and industries are springing up to serve a slowly growing population, who primarily live in the town’s outer ring 2km out from the CBD. These are primarily situated along the highway strip and have not done much to alter the town centre; there are a lot of empty houses in the town’s older, inner suburbs.

A new hope

Recently, a representative from development company NovaCorp has been meeting with Rockport’s council and mayor to discuss the potential development of an innovation and technology precinct on a 4-hectare site on the highway, not far from the shopping strip. The project would include a higher education campus and childcare centre as well as integrated industry and commercial hubs; development would provide 800 jobs in the construction phase, many of which could be filled by locals, and the finished precinct would ensure further, permanent positions for over 400 people.

It is anticipated that this would spur further investment and growth in the town, so Rockport’s mayor is very keen for an application to be submitted – but there’s an issue with the developer’s preferred location: about one quarter of the proposed site is affected by river flooding. Mitigation efforts – landscaping to raise the height of the built areas of the site, a drainage basin etc – would be possible, but very costly. There have been discussions around developing the precinct over two 2-hectare former industrial sites in town, but the level of construction required would mean upgrading the town’s existing infrastructure. Rockport council is not sure they could cover the costs; paying for new infrastructure would either mean levying higher rates on existing residents and businesses, or a funding shortfall.

The inner city site is much preferred by the city’s planning manager who is very concerned about the move away from manufacturing which has contributed to the town’s shift from a reasonably compact, walkable settlement into one that is highly dispersed – and has, not incidentally, one of the state’s highest per capita levels of obesity and chronic disease. The most popular, and populated, area of Rockport is the band of housing 2km out from the CBD and waterfront, which features big blocks, wide streets, and lots of open space. Rockport’s two schools are still in the town centre though and, although the old part of town is closer, most of Rocky’s residents prefer to drive 6km to the highway shopping centre to work, shop or go to the gym or cafe every day. The fragmented nature of the town’s employment/ recreation/residential divide is contributing to a highly car-centric lifestyle.

Developing in town is also popular with the inner city residents who can see the benefits to both their everyday convenience and also to their property values. But not all property owners are so enthusiastic. Some residents are opposed to the idea of paying more rates to help a developer make a profit. Those with land further away from the CBD are also not attracted to this idea. A local landowner, who owns five large land parcels between the highway and Rockport’s town centre, would benefit from significant value uplift of the land surrounding the site if the new development occurred on the highway. This land could then be re-zoned for residential use and sold to developers at the new price. At the moment it is not possible to demonstrate a need to re-zone the area – but the future population increase promised by the new precinct might change that.

The mayor has called a meeting of key stakeholders to determine the city’s position on the location for the future development. The mayor will preside, and invite input from the developer, a resident’s representative, the city planning manager, and the interested landowner on the outskirts of the city.

For the development to proceed, an agreement must be reached between the mayor, developer, and at least one other party.


Undertake pre-preparation by thinking about the likely positions of all parties

Think about their most likely approach to the negotiation and how strongly they may, or may not, be motivated to get an agreement

Prepare an initial plan for the negotiation for each party

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