For more than 25 years, PPM has been privileged to assist participants in consensus processes use their collective knowledge, and even their opposing passions, to construct innovative solutions that reflect existing possibilities and political constraints. With broad reach and depth across the public policy spectrum of issues, PPM is recognized nationally and internationally for its policy mediation expertise in helping parties address seemingly intractable conflicts.


Although most PPM projects are initiated and resourced by government agencies, PPM clarifies early on that its client is the entire team of negotiators. With curiosity about and respect for all perspectives of conflicts, PPM builds confidence in the mediation process as it enables parties to reflect on assumptions, learn new aspects of their old situations and generate innovative solutions.


Established as Susan Podziba & Associates in 1990, Podziba Policy Mediation is based in Brookline, Massachusetts. PPM’s practice is rooted in, and builds on, mediation and negotiation theories developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. PPM contributes to theory building and innovative practice through publications, simulations and research roundtables. Courses and training for mid-career professionals, faculty, and graduate students provide opportunities to continually analyze and improve our practice. Susan Podziba’s latest book, Civic Fusion: Mediating Polarized Public Disputes, contains her reflections and lessons learned from her policy mediation practice.


When Podziba Policy Mediation designs and implements mediation processes, unique solutions emerge through sustained productive negotiations that contain parties’ inevitable clashes of will, perspective and values. PPM discerns personal, political, cultural and societal dynamics to assist clients in the design of uniquely tailored outcome-based processes to match situational challenges. Awareness of these dynamics enables PPM to initiate and sustain deliberative negotiations to build actionable agreements. Key elements of policy mediation process are the assessment, process design, negotiations, and outreach and consultations.


Complex problems require careful analysis to tease apart conflicts of confusion, actual issues and interests in dispute, affected stakeholders, and relevant situational dynamics. The information and dynamics identified during assessment interviews inform the process design and support deliberative negotiations.is some text inside of a div block.



All civic fusion processes share basic building blocks: negotiations, outreach and consultations, trusted information, and, ultimately, a written product --but each design is unique. PPM tailors the overall process design and each of its components to the specific characteristics of the situation including perceived barriers to resolution.some text inside of a div block.


PPM mediates negotiations to encourage deliberative discussions that are rooted in the collective wisdom of representatives from government, industry and civil society even as they are bounded by uncomfortable realities such as resource constraints and power differentials. Parties develop and assess options, identify opportunities for mutual gain and trade off on issues valued differently among stakeholders. PPM encourages negotiators to reflect on assumptions and positions, broaden perspectives, and refine innovative ideas to integrate stakeholder interests into actionable agreements.

outreach and consultation

Outreach and consultation is linked to the question of who, in addition to representative negotiators, must participate to ensure an agreement will be actionable. Process mechanisms are created to generate and integrate additional input into the deliberations and decisions.


Conflicts often deepen with a lack of good information or when people rely on biased information to support their positions. Because innovative solutions emerge from increasingly nuanced understandings of complex issues, well-informed negotiators are more likely to reach agreements. PPM works to identify sources of trusted information and develop mechanisms for exploring diverse perspectives on controversial issues.



  • City of South Portland, Maine, City Council
  • ‍Harvard University, Harvard Negotiation Institute
  • Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
  • ‍Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
  • U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education
  • U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Secretary


  • Friends of the Earth International
  • Maine Department of Environmental Protection 
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hazardous Substances Program
  • Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)
  • New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
  • New England Governors Conference
  • Renew America
  • Rhode Island Department of Environmental Protection
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office 
  • U.S. Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, Institute for Water Resources
  • U.S. Department of Defense, Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Air Quality and Standards Division
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Radiation and Indoor Air
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, 
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection 


  • City of Modena, Italy
  • Emilia Romagna Regional Authority, Italy
  • Kvalitets Mässan, Sweden
  • Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance, Office of the Receiver
  • Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution
  • National Commission on Energy Policy
  • Netherlands School of Public Administration
  • Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, Redistricting Reform Project
  • Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR)
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution


  • Cultural Survival, Inc.
  • Harvard Kennedy School, Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East
  • Jerusalem Inter Cultural Center
  • My Sister’s Keeper
  • Save Darfur.org, Darfur Leaders Network
  • Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at Hebrew University
  • United Nations, Department of Political Affairs
  • United Nations, Office of the President of the General Assembly
  • United States Institute of Peace 
  • World Federation of United Nations Associations 


  • Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts
  • Dalslandskommunernas Kommunalförbund, Sweden
  • Fannie Mae
  • Fannie Mae Foundation
  • Helsinki University of Technology (Finland)
  • Hjørring Kommune, Denmark
  • Home Builders Association of Connecticut
  • Massachusetts Executive Office of Communities and Development
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
  • Nagautuck Valley Brownfields Association
  • National Association of Home Builders
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Public and Indian Housing, Office of Native American Programs
  • U.S. Senate, Committee on Indian Affairs


  • Harvard University, Harvard School of Public Health, Program for Health Care Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Public Conversations Project
  • U.S. General Services Administration
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Science Advisor
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Children’s Health Protection


  • Harvard University, School Public Health, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative 
  • Government of the Netherlands, Ministry of Justice and Security
  • U.S. Department of Defense, Air Force
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary, in consultation with U.S. Department of Homeland Security


  • Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Cape Cod Commission, Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Highway Department
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration