Using Value Deliberations to Explore Solutions for the Energy Transition of Port City Cultures

Mid-December 2018, the Chair of Architectural History at TU Delft organizes an international conference on port-city cultures in cooperation with the LDE Centre for Metropolis and Mainport. The goal is to arrive at a research agenda that will help the city of Rotterdam to improve sustainable coexistence at the interface between port, city and region by transforming tensions and conflicts into creative opportunities.

To draw up this agenda it is important to first investigate and understand the common values of all stakeholders. To facilitate this, a value deliberation process is applied to identify the values that participants consider relevant and to make the participants deliberate about their perspectives on the values. A value deliberation process (depicted below) has been developed to come to a level of mutual understanding when perspectives on an issue are very diverse, while the stakes are high. The process is a method to facilitate deliberation on values among those involved and gives room to the different perspectives, aiming for reflection rather than an exchange of arguments.

the value deliberation process used

For the first step, participants formulate pro and con arguments for each possible solution, to reach a basic understanding of existing ideas regarding the issue. After this, the participants rank the solutions individually from most preferred to least preferred (rank 1). This ranking serves as a baseline measurement. Next, per solution, the values that are considered relevant by the participants are identified and discussed elaborately. Subsequently, the solutions are ranked again (rank 2). The two rankings are compared after which the (lack of) differences are discussed within the group.

This process has been used in various contexts: from small-scale face-to-face deliberations among professionals, to a large-scale citizens summit where many small-scale deliberations in parallel took place. This time, the process takes place online, since professionals from different countries are participating.

We invited port-professionals from various international ports, policy-makers, institutional representatives and academics to join an online deliberation. In the course of three weeks, they identify the values that they consider relevant per alternative and deliberate elaborately on the values. During the online process, the participants are anonymous to prevent power relations to play a role. We divided the participants in groups of maximum 15 people, where the aim is to have groups that are as diverse in perspectives as possible.

The outcomes of this process form the input for a day-long workshop during the December conference, that is open to DDfV members. During this workshop, again port-professionals, policy-makers, institutional representatives and academics will participate. The participants are asked to integrate the identified values in the solutions that they develop during the day. At the end of the day all solutions will be presented plenary, to serve as a building block for policy-making.


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