Many people tend to think of divorces or lawsuits as a basis for mediation, but the reality is that any type of dispute can be mediated. A good example of this was a recent resolution of a dispute over development in Miami, FL on a parcel of land which contained Native American (Tequesta) artifacts on site. What seemed like an intractable dispute (i.e. build-preserve) was converted into a win-win scenario via mediation. From National Geographic:
Last night, the Miami City Commission approved an agreement hammered out in mediation last week between MDM Development Group and several private and governmental preservationist parties, and all sides agree that the solution is as historic as the site it preserves.
Everyone involved gave the mediator, Angel Cortiñas, high praise for his work over the course of the two-day mediation. “He has a way of keeping people engaged,” said Sarnoff, the city commissioner. “For the first hour and a half of the mediation, he had everybody get their issues out with each other, and it was very effective. Everybody just needed to get their venting done.” Then he separated the two groups and went back and forth between them with proposals and counterproposals—some 30 or 40 rounds, according to participants—until an agreement was reached.
“I’ve never walked out of a mediation where I felt more positive,” said Eugene Stearns, MDM’s representative. “I think everybody walked out with a sense that we’d done something important. The history here is extraordinarily rich, and it’s largely unknown. Now people who come to see this site will see more than just holes in the ground.”
“You never get everything you want in a mediation,” said Parks, the historian. “But I was very pleased at the end of the day. We all left shaking hands, and everything that we said that we didn’t like about each other was forgotten.”