Introduction by Jon Linden - Facilitator

ODR Facilitation vs. Face-to-Face Problem Resolution - Discussion Forum

This Discussion Forum is designed to explore ODR professionals' opinions, feelings and experiences using ODR and how ODR differs from standard Face-to-Face Mediation or other Dispute Resolution techniques. In 2002, I was a Facilitator of a series of meetings that were designed to glean feedback and feelings with regard to how the World Trade Center in New York City should be rebuilt following the catastrophic devastation of the Twin Towers and other buildings in that immediate area. There were three (3) agencies/forums that were proposing methods of rebuilding the 16 acre plot. These groups were the Port Authority of NY/NJ which owned the Twin Towers and the land they were on, the Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York and The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).

The feedback sessions were done in two parts. On July 20 & 22, 2002, people came to the Javits Center in Manhattan to participate in a Face-to-Face meeting in which they were divided into groups of 10 to 12 people per table with either one (1) or two (2) facilitators at each table. Following that session, there was a two (2) week On-Line discussion where participants were divided into groups of about twenty (20) participants each. Both Methods were designed to gather reactions, opinions and feelings about the six (6) proposed designs for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. The feedback was extremely rich and highly enthusiastic.

As a result of these two forums, the designs were all scrapped and the design went out to an International Architectural Competition. The architects that participated in the competition tried to incorporate the comments of the above described groups into their design. I was a Facilitator for all of the sessions, the Face-to-Face and the On-Line sessions. That is the basis of this discussion group from my perspective. We hope to get additional perspectives from all the participants in this Discussion Forum and help everyone involved in CyberWeek to understand how ODR differs from Face-to-Face Dispute Resolution. Specifically in what ways do each of the methods prove to be superior in the course of working toward a resolution of any given dispute.

We thank all of our participants at this Discussion Forum and hope you will all join in and submit your feelings and experiences with ODR vs. Face-to-Face Dispute Resolution and in what respects do each method have advantages and disadvantages. All of us wish you a very significant and enjoyable week at Cyberweek and in this Discussion Forum. We are very pleased to have you with us.

Jon Linden, MBA, Mediator, Facilitator, Paralegal
Forum Facilitator

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