DUSP and SIC Alumni Publish Book on Joint Fact-Finding

October 1, 2016

Former DUSP, EPP, and SIC Alumni, Dr.Masahiro Matsuura and Dr.Todd Schenk publish a new book, Joint Fact-Finding in Urban Planning and Environmental Disputes

They argue the days of rationalist scientific management and deference to official data are behind us. The credibility of experts and the information they provide are regularly challenged; officials are routinely provided with conflicting sets of ‘facts’ as they plan and make decisions; and decision-makers and stakeholders alike are largely sceptical that technical information will adequately account for the various interests and concerns and lead to the right outcomes. Uncertainly around issues like climate change only complicates matters further, as scientists and technicians must increasingly acknowledge the uncertainty and potential fallibility of their findings.

Their book examines how groups looking to plan and make decisions in any number of areas wade through the imperfect and often contradictory information they have to make fair, efficient, wise and well-informed choices. An emerging and very promising approach called joint fact-finding (JFF) can help. Rather than each stakeholder group marshalling the set of facts that best advance their respective interests and perspectives while discrediting the contradictory facts others provide, groups are challenged to collaboratively generate a shared set of facts that all parties accept. This book will introduce readers to the theory of JFF, the value it can provide, and how they can adopt this approach in practice. It will bring together writings from leading practitioners and scholars from around the world that are at the forefront of JFF approach to science intensive policy making, urban planning, and environmental dispute resolution. It will comprise of two parts: First, a set of chapters that outline the concept and practice of JFF; and second, a set of case-based chapters that elucidate how JFF is being applied in practice.

Dr. Matsuura and Dr. Schenk's book delivers a new perspective to scholars in the field of public policy, urban planning, environmental studies, and science and technology studies, as well as public officials, technical experts, policy consultants, and professional facilitators.